Arizona Lawmaker Looks To Change Hacienda's Licensing Exemption

Published: Friday, January 18, 2019 - 3:17pm
Updated: Friday, January 18, 2019 - 7:30pm

In the late 1990s, the Arizona Legislature passed a bill that exempted intermediate care facilities, like the one where a 29-year-old comatose woman was sexually abused, from being licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services. Instead, the federal government would certify those types of facilities. Now, that could be changing.

The bill was passed during the 43rd Legislature, and it said that Intermediate Care Facilities or ICFs did not have to have a state license to operate as long as they followed federal regulations, specifically those put forth by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Republican Sen. Heather Carter wants to change that following news that a comatose woman was raped at an ICF and later delivered a baby.

"So the impact of the bill we’re putting forth will make this facility subject to state licensing," said Carter.

And Carter said that’s important because.

"If anything changes with their CMS license, without this legislation we would not have the statutory authority to go in and do the inspections."

Carter did not know why ICFs were given an exemption in the first place. She says she has asked legislative staff to look into that. Though she did say the legislation she plans to introduce will have an emergency clause. 

"That will allow the legislation to go into effect immediately upon the governor’s signature," she explained. 

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