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CEO quits after woman in vegetative state gives birth; new allegations emerge

CBS News logo CBS News 1/8/2019 CBSNews
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The chief executive officer of Hacienda HealthCare resigned Monday, just days after a vegetative patient at a Hacienda nursing facility in Phoenix gave birth. Bill Timmons' resignation, which was unanimously accepted by Hacienda's board of directors, came as new allegations of past abuses emerged.  

CBS Phoenix affiliate KPHO-TV was first to report on the birth.

Hacienda has been under intense scrutiny since the 29-year-old Native American woman had the healthy baby boy December 29, the station said. The patient has been in a vegetative state for 14 years, since a near-drowning incident, KPHO noted.  

T. Coraghessan Boyle wearing a blue shirt and smiling at the camera: bill-timmons.jpg © Hacienda HealthCare / KPHO-TV bill-timmons.jpg In a statement, Hacienda said Board Executive Vice President Gary Orman vowed that Hacienda "will accept nothing less than a full accounting of this absolutely horrifying situation, an unprecedented case that has devastated everyone involved, from the victim and her family to Hacienda staff at every level of our organization."

Orman said in the statement that Hacienda "will continue to cooperate with Phoenix Police and the investigating agencies at all levels in every way possible."

The station said it's learned that she was raped several times.

KPHO also spoke with a former Hacienda manager who said Timmons insisted that a 1988 incident of abuse of a different patient be covered up.

The manager said female nurses were standing around a nonverbal male patient's bed, talking inappropriately about his genitalia. The ex-manager said when that was addressed at a subsequent manager's meeting, Timmons slammed his fist on a table and said, 'No! No one is going to report this,"' even though the law required that state health officials be notified.

"I was scared," the ex-manager recalled. "Bill Timmons has a temper. And we knew not to mess with that temper because people got fired."

She said no one reported that incident solely out of fear, and she believes there's been other abuse throughout the years.

Parents of patients began coming forward, saying they had concerns about the facility's ability to keep their children safe.

Meanwhile, a state lawmaker is considering legislation to protect patients living at long-term healthcare facilities from abuse.

Rep. Jeff Weninger told KPHO one idea would be to allow families to install cameras in the rooms of their loved ones so they could be monitored remotely.

Louisiana passed a bill last year forbidding healthcare facilities from rejecting requests for cameras.

"You can hook these up through an Internet signal in nursing homes," Weninger said.

Weninger said he was in the early stages of looking at the issue.

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