PHOENIX — Hacienda Healthcare has not had a license from Arizona for more than 20 years, according to the Arizona Public Health Association.
A woman in a vegetative state for more than a decade gave birth on Dec. 29 at a Phoenix facility, sparking a rape investigation by police.
Amid the investigation, Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association, looked for the facility's licensing.
"The vast majority of health services are licensed by the Department of Health Services," he said.
But Humble said he found no license number for Hacienda Healthcare.
Humble said Hacienda Healthcare and facilities like it are exempt from state licensing requirements thanks to a 1997 statute.
"It's a small part of a very large bill," Humble said.
According to Humble, controlling the license of a facility can be a powerful tool to enforce compliance.
"It's a motivating factor to do things the right way. In the absence of that, you remove that intervention tool the state has," he said.
Hacienda does deal with some oversight. It gets some of its
The state also has power over the company, as most of the patients and contracts come from the state. Documents show 91.8 percent of Hacienda's revenue comes from government sources.
State Sen. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, said she will soon file a bill to require Hacienda and others to be licensed again.
Carter said she believes the bill will be filed sometime next week. She said an emergency clause will be added to the bill, which would make it effective once the governor signs it.
Carter's bill may be just one of multiple legislative changes focused on protecting vulnerable patients.
"We are talking about the safety, well-being