Hacienda Healthcare now under stricter state oversight

PHOENIX (AP/FOX 10) - An embattled Phoenix long-term care facility where an incapacitated woman was raped and later gave birth is now under state supervision.

The Arizona Department of Health Services said Friday that Hacienda HealthCare officially entered into a voluntary agreement to follow a slew of strict requirements.

They include hiring a third-party monitor, making daily patient welfare checks and providing a $50,000 deposit to help pay for any necessary transfer residents.

"Those are consistent with enforcement actions that we take on other facilities that have had either bad outcomes or bad findings during a survey," said Dr. Cara Christ, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, in a phone interview.

DHS will conduct unannounced inspections, and receive regular updates from staff. Hacienda will eventually have to get a state license to continue to operate, and plans to shut down the ICF and Skilled Nursing facilities are now off the table.

The agreement was reached, despite political fighting between hacienda's board and executive leaders, and the sudden resignations of 12 top managers just last week.

"This contract will ensure I have sufficient oversight and regulatory oversight over this facility," said Dr. Christ.

The agreement marks the culmination of months of turmoil since a patient gave birth to a boy at the facility in December and a male nurse was arrested.

>>FULL COVERAGE: Hacienda HealthCare Investigation

Hacienda officials had planned last month to close down the entire unit, which would have meant finding new homes for nearly 40 residents. but the state contested the decision.

Meanwhile, Bill Kanuth, whose granddaughter has Cerebral Palsy and began rehabilitation therapy at Hacienda a month ago, said the quality of care at the facility is excellent, despite the ongoing battles.

"No, I don't know why there is so much concern, now the horse has gone out of the barn, you know," said Kanuth.

If Hacienda violates any of the terms of the agreement, the state could deny Hacienda a future license.

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.