Arizona governor calls for removal of Hacienda HealthCare board, slams protection of ex-CEO


PHOENIX – Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey called for the removal of Hacienda HealthCare’s board of directors, saying he had no confidence in the leadership at an institution where an incapacitated woman was raped and went into labor before staff members knew she was pregnant.

Ducey’s comments Friday came the day after an Arizona Republic investigation detailed how Hacienda’s former CEO kept his job despite years of sexual harassment and bullying complaints. 

“I am sickened by what’s been disclosed about the rape and subsequent childbirth by a disabled woman at Hacienda HealthCare,” Ducey said in a series of strongly worded comments on Twitter. “And, I’m appalled by the latest disclosure about the senior leadership’s behavior and the lack of action by its board of directors.”

Former employees had made formal complaints for years about former CEO Bill Timmons, beginning more than a decade ago, The Republic found.

Timmons, now 72, groped them, questioned them about their sex lives, made explicit comments about what he’d like to do to them and aggressively berated them for real and imagined slights, employees said.

Former Hacienda HealthCare CEO Bill Timmons is pictured in 2002.

Board President Thomas Pomeroy confirmed this week that Timmons faced multiple harassment complaints during his tenure and was ordered to get counseling and attend training sessions. His pay was docked.

But Pomery said firing Timmons was not an “easy call” given his years of service at Hacienda. Timmons resigned Jan. 7, about a week after the rape victim gave birth.

Ducey said there was no excuse for keeping Timmons employed.

“My confidence level in that institution and its leadership is zero ,” Ducey said in the tweets. “This guy should have been fired years ago. Period. Instead, he was protected and allowed to continue harming others.”

Hacienda officials: Changes in the works

Hacienda officials said in a statement Friday they are trying to restore public confidence.

“At the heart of Gov. Ducey’s tweets is a deep concern for the patients of Hacienda HealthCare,” officials said in the statement. “Every member of our staff and member of the Board shares the Governor’s concerns.”

Officials said since the birth they have revamped security infrastructure, overhauled care policies and changed organizational culture. 

“The two doctors who cared for the victim in this awful case no longer see Hacienda patients,” the statement said. “Former County Attorney Rick Romley has been engaged in a comprehensive internal review to ensure no Hacienda patient is ever again victimized in any way.”

Hacienda also has agreed with the state’s demand to hire a third-party firm to take over management.

“This organization intends to do everything in our power to restore its credibility with our patients, their families, the public and Gov. Ducey,” officials said. “We, too, believe that no patient in Hacienda’s care can ever again be placed in harm’s way.”

More: Hacienda’s ex-CEO faced sexual-harassment, bullying complaints

The facility has drawn international attention since a 29-year-old woman gave birth to a boy Dec. 29. The woman, a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, has been a patient at Hacienda for 26 years.

Court records say she is “not alert” and needs a “maximum level of care.”

Phoenix police on Wednesday arrested a Hacienda nurse, accusing him of raping and impregnating the patient in his care.

Nathan Sutherland, a 36-year-old licensed practical nurse, was booked into a Maricopa County jail on suspicion of sexual assault and vulnerable-adult abuse.

More: Hacienda HealthCare sexual-assault case: Who is nurse Nathan Sutherland?

Timmons was a longtime executive, paid well

Timmons worked at Hacienda for 28 years and earned $609,000 in 2015, according to the nonprofit’s most recently available tax filings.

His salary that year included a $75,000 bonus, $18,777 in retirement and $11,742 in non-taxable benefits.  

Tax records show he got a $50,000 salary raise in 2014 and a $71,000 raise in 2015.

In addition to the intermediate-care facility where the rape victim was housed, Timmons ran two other nonprofit hospitals, a skilled-nursing facility and a foundation.

He also oversaw two for-profit companies that did business with Hacienda: a medical-supply company and a home-health agency.

Four former employees interviewed by The Republic confirmed the board’s statement that several employees complained about Timmons harassing them and treating them improperly.

At least three women made formal sexual harassment complaints, including one who said he forced her against chairs during a fundraising event, made several lewd comments and suggested she perform oral sex.

Another woman reported Timmons grabbed her buttocks. The other reported that he made sexual comments and insisted she date him.

Employees also reported outbursts and disturbing behavior. 

More: ‘We had no idea this patient was pregnant’: Nurse’s 911 call details surprise birth

According to a former employee and former director at Hacienda, Timmons once soiled his shirt with paint from a doorway while walking into a meeting. They said he stripped off his shirt, tossed it at a member of the housekeeping staff, ordered her to clean it and sat through the meeting bare-chested.

Another time, he became angry and climbed on top of a conference table, pacing back and forth as he shouted, they said.

Ducey said state officials, who had been investigating care at the facility, now would look into “what can be done to hold this facility and board accountable for violating the public’s trust and failing in their responsibility so badly.”

The names of board members were removed from Hacienda’s website on Jan. 5. But records show they are: 

  • Thomas Pomeroy, 66, president. He is an insurance broker and president of Pomeroy and Associates Inc. He has served on the Hacienda board for decades. 
  • Ralph Wallwork, 83, treasurer. He is a principal with Sun State Auto Centers in Scottsdale.
  • Gary Orman, 80, vice president. He is past president and director of Integrated Technology Corp., a Tempe-based supplier of semiconductor testing equipment.
  • Kathryn Del Real, 61, vice president. She is a registered nurse, licensed in Arizona since 1982.
  • Mike Wade, 66, secretary. He is president of Tech Mold, a Tempe-based company that manufactures molds for medical and other packaging.
  • Kevin Berger, 52, director. He is a pediatrician, licensed in Arizona since 1998.
  • Thom Niemiec,73, director. He is a member of MedPlast Holdings Inc., a Tempe-based holding company connected to a medical device manufacturing firm.
  • Jim Gerdes, director. No background information was immediately available.

Patrick White, who originally was listed as a director on Hacienda’s website, was named CEO after Timmons’ resignation. White is a lawyer specializing in health care. He was first licensed to practice in Arizona in 1998.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Arizona governor calls for removal of Hacienda HealthCare board, slams protection of ex-CEO



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