Arizona governor calls for removal of Hacienda HealthCare's board amid sexual assault probe

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Jan. 25 called for the complete removal of Phoenix-based Hacienda HealthCare's board of directors and executive leadership after patient safety concerns arose at the facility, reports Arizona Republic.

On Jan. 22, Phoenix police arrested a former Hacienda nurse for allegedly raping and impregnating a patient in a vegetative state. The Arizona State Board of Nursing confirmed 36-year-old Nathan Sutherland voluntarily surrendered his nursing license Jan. 24, according to KTAR News.

"I am sickened by what's been disclosed about the rape and subsequent childbirth by a disabled woman at Hacienda HealthCare. And, I'm appalled by the latest disclosure about the senior leadership's behavior and the lack of action by its board of directors," Mr. Ducey said in a series of tweets Jan. 25. "The senior leadership in that enterprise needs to be completely replaced. That includes the Board of Directors, every one of whom should be terminated immediately."

The tweets come a day after claims surfaced that Hacienda's board permitted former CEO Bill Timmons to stay in his position despite multiple accusations of sexual harassment and other "questionable behavior," according to a separate Arizona Republic report. Mr. Timmons resigned from his position Jan. 7.

In response to Mr. Ducey's tweets, Hacienda Healthcare noted Mr. Simmons' departure and said two physicians who cared for the victim no longer treat patients at the facility.

"In addition to these leadership and organizational changes, Hacienda has agreed to the State of Arizona's request to have a third-party management team in place to oversee patient care and daily operations," Hacienda said in a statement to ABC15 Arizona. "The object, again, is to ensure that not a single Hacienda patient is in danger or receiving anything less that top-flight care."

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