News, Culture & Society

Center where comatose woman had baby faced criminal probe

Center where a 29-year-old woman in a vegetative state was raped and had a baby faced a criminal probe years earlier after ‘falsely billing the State of Arizona’ for $4 million in charges

  • State regulators reportedly wanted to remove developmentally disabled patients from Hacienda HealthCare in Phoenix years ago
  • Hacienda HealthCare faced a criminal investigation in 2016 
  • The facility allegedly billed the state some $4 million in bogus 2014 charges for wages, transportation, housekeeping, maintenance and supplies 
  • A woman in a vegetative state gave birth in the long-term care facility last month
  • The woman, a member of the San Carlos Apache tribe, nearly drowned more than a decade ago 
  • Arizona police have since obtained search warrant to retrieve DNA from male employees healthcare facility 

Regulators wanted to remove developmentally disabled patients from a Phoenix long-term care facility years before a woman in a vegetative state gave birth, Arizona’s largest newspaper reported Sunday.

The Arizona Republic reported Hacienda HealthCare faced a 2016 criminal investigation for allegedly billing the state more than $4 million for bogus 2014 charges for wages, transportation, housekeeping, maintenance and supplies.

The criminal case was dropped in 2017 and no charges were filed, the Republic said, but a court battle is continuing in an effort to force Hacienda to turn over financial records.

State regulators reportedly wanted to remove developmentally disabled patients from Hacienda HealthCare in Phoenix, a long-term care facility years before a woman in a vegetative state gave birth

Despite a criminal investigation into practices at the home, Phoenix police officers are pictured here visiting residents of the home around the time of the holidays in 2014

Despite a criminal investigation into practices at the home, Phoenix police officers are pictured here visiting residents of the home around the time of the holidays in 2014

Members of the Phoenix police department would regularly visit the home during the holidays

Members of the Phoenix police department would regularly visit the home during the holidays

Phoenix police have said the 29-year-old woman incapacitated since age 3 was sexually assaulted and gave birth last month.

Investigators are collecting DNA from Hacienda’s male employees and others who may have had contact with the woman in an effort to identify a suspect.

The woman’s family has said in a statement through their attorney that they will care for the infant boy and have asked for privacy.

The revelation that a woman in a vegetative state was raped inside a care facility has horrified advocates for people with disabilities and the community at large.

Hacienda HealthCare’s CEO William Timmons resigned on Dec. 31 as the provider announced new safety measures, including more than one staff member being present during patient interactions and more scrutiny of visitors.

The woman was an enrolled member of the San Carlos Apache tribe, whose reservation is in southeastern Arizona about 134 miles east of Phoenix. Members of the San Carlos Apache Tribe are seen in a 2014 Facebook photo

The woman was an enrolled member of the San Carlos Apache tribe, whose reservation is in southeastern Arizona about 134 miles east of Phoenix. Members of the San Carlos Apache Tribe are seen in a 2014 Facebook photo

Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, said his office is considering bringing in a third party to assume responsibility for the ongoing management of Hacienda.

The nonprofit facility gets more than $20 million annually in taxpayer funds for taking care of extremely ill people, many of whom are incapacitated and on ventilators, the Republic reported.

Hacienda’s annual average cost of care was $386,000 per client in 2012 compared with $134,000 per client in similar U.S. facilities, Arizona Department of Economic Security auditors said.

The Republic said former economic security director Timothy Jeffries and the agency’s chief law enforcement officer, Charles Loftus have both filed lawsuits against the state, claiming they were forced out of their jobs over their probe of Hacienda.

Hacienda CEO Bill Timmons stepped down last week in light of the news

Hacienda CEO Bill Timmons stepped down last week in light of the news

San Carlos Apache Tribal Chairman Terry Rambler

San Carlos Apache Tribal Chairman Terry Rambler

Jeffries was forced to resign in 2016 after a series of controversies, including a finding by the Arizona Department of Public Safety that the department kept shoddy record-keeping, had insecure storage of guns and ammunition and that it had violated state procurement policies in buying some 60,000 rounds of ammunition.

Jeffries filed suit against the state in 2017 over what he claims is libel in a police report that detailed a stash of weapons and ammunition kept in the agency offices. He claims statements in the DPS audit were false and that there were malicious motives involved in the report.

The Republic quoted Jeffries as saying Timmons was obstinate during the investigation of Hacienda and bragged of tight ties to Ducey.

Ducey spokeswoman Elizabeth Berry said the governor was horrified by accounts of the rape and denied that the state failed to act on concerns raised by the economic security department.

She also said Hacienda played no part in the forced resignations of Jeffries and Loftus after their two-year tenure.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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