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Arizona Department Of Health Services Could Soon Have Formal Authority Of Hacienda HealthCare

Hacienda HealthCare facility
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Hacienda HealthCare facility in Phoenix.

The Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS) could soon have formal authority over intermediate care facilities (IFC), like the one at Hacienda HealthCare. A bill that would codify that is making its way through the Arizona Legislature.

In early February, Hacienda notified state agencies that it would close the facility where a 29-year-old incapacitated woman was raped and later gave birth to a baby boy. Hacienda later agreed to allow DHS to exercise licensing authority of its ICF. Senate Bill 1211 would formalize the agreement.

At Thursday’s meeting, Republican Rep. John Allen asked about what would happen if Hacienda can’t weather the potential legal storm.

Colby Bower is with DHS.

"Part of the agreement does contemplate — they have to give us a plan on how they would move residents if they needed to move residents," said Bower. "Shannon [Whitaker of DHS] already mentioned the $50,000 deposit that would aid in any financial burden that would be imposed to move these residents out."

Bower said at this time there’s no indication Hacienda plans to close. The bill sailed through the House Health and Human Services Committee on a unanimous vote. 

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Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.