The facility almost lost its Medicaid contract after a sexual assault and other scandals.
Hacienda HealthCare, the Phoenix-based long-term care facility where an incapacitated patient was raped and later gave birth in 2018, received anywhere from $2 million to $5 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.
Despite it’s near-closure, aid money is going toward helping the nonprofit keep workers on the job.
Launched Into National Spotlight
Hacienda HealthCare made national news last year after a disturbing case began to unfold.
Facility staff called 911 in December 2018 when they found an incapacitated 29-year-old Native woman giving birth. They said they hadn’t known the woman, a member of the San Carlos Apache tribe and who is nonverbal and can’t walk, was pregnant.
Nurse Nathan Sutherland was later arrested and charged with sexual assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult after his DNA was found to match that of the baby’s. He has pleaded not guilty.
The patient’s family sued the state and two of the woman’s doctors, accusing them of negligence.
According to the patient’s lawyer, the woman was repeatedly raped in the facility and a physical exam concluded it did not appear to be her first pregnancy. The woman, who had been at the facility since the age of 3 after a near-drowning, may have been sexually abused as far back as 2002 along with four other patients.
After the 2018 incident, the family made an agreement with the facility to only have female staff care for the woman unaccompanied, but the family alleges this was not honored.
CEO Bill Timmons resigned in early 2019 shortly after the scandal became public.
Then in June, it was discovered that a 28-year-old patient had maggots beneath his bandage, raising additional questions about the facility’s safety practices.
Trying to Stay Open
Despite all of the problems, Arizona officials have worked to find ways to keep the facility open.
Gov. Doug Ducey has said he wanted to avoid causing families and other patients stress by closing the facility and forcing them to relocate.
Hacienda came to a settlement with the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid in January of this year, agreeing to hire a quality improvement consultant and a temporary manager from outside the organization to make necessary changes.
But the pandemic has thrown a new set of challenges at the facility.
Last month, a patient in Hacienda HealthCare’s care died after contracting COVID-19.
AZ Family reported that several other patients and staff members have tested positive.
Still Receiving Federal Aid
According to the Small Business Association, the PPP loans that went to Hacienda HealthCare helped the nonprofit retain 280 jobs.
The federal government program was implemented to allow small businesses to keep employees on their payroll during disruptions due to the pandemic.
The nonprofit’s main facility located at 1402 East South Mountain Ave. in Phoenix is listed on the PPP document.
It’s unclear if any of the money was also distributed to the nonprofit’s other locations around the Valley.
A Hacienda HealthCare spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment by publication time.
Congress boosted the money set aside for PPP loans to $659 billion in late April. There was still about $130 billion left over as of July 7, and Congress extended the program until Aug. 8.
The program offers up to $10 million to companies with fewer than 500 employees. Loans can be forgiven if most of the money is spent on workers. Otherwise the loan has to be repaid, with an interest rate of 1%.
The U.S. Treasury Department has identified just a fraction of the total borrowers so far, naming only companies that got more than $150,000.
Those firms made up less than 15% of the nearly 5 million small companies and organizations that received assistance.
But some of the names receiving large sums are well-known––they include fashion designers such as Oscar de la Renta, the clothing retailer Candie’s, and companies that own hundreds of fast-food restaurants including P.F. Chang’s and TGI Friday’s.
Loans also went to private equity firms, venture capital firms, law firms and other companies that might have felt an initial pinch from the economic downturn but seem in better position to weather the storm than smaller businesses, including some that didn’t get loans due to issues with the program’s design.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.