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Arizona wants care unit where patient was raped to stay open

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Terry Tang, The Associated Press


Published Friday, February 8, 2019 1:39AM EST


Last Updated Friday, February 8, 2019 8:31PM EST

PHOENIX — The embattled operators of an Arizona long-term care facility agreed Friday to be regulated by the state, effectively nixing a plan to close down the unit where an incapacitated woman gave birth after being raped.

The state received written confirmation that Hacienda HealthCare would enter into a voluntary regulation agreement, said Patrick Ptak, spokesman for Gov. Doug Ducey.

“This is good news and the best immediate outcome as it means Hacienda patients and families would be allowed to stay in the home they’ve known for years while ensuring new and enhanced protections and oversight are put in place,” Ptak said in a statement.

Hacienda officials said in a statement that the safety and health of patients have always been the “paramount priority.” They also reiterated that they have already complied with directives from several state agencies in a short timeframe.

The changes already in place include the installation of dozens of cameras and monitors, enhanced security and retraining for every staff member on identifying and reporting abuse and neglect.

“Our patients, their families, our team members and the community deserve nothing less than this commitment from us,” the care provider said.

Under the agreement, Hacienda will have to devise a long-term plan and timeline that prioritizes health and safety at the intermediate care facility where the victim resided. Hacienda will also have to employ an on-site evaluator to make sure necessary changes have been met. The care provider will have to work with an outside health care consultant until the state finds it is in compliance. All these conditions will also apply to the skilled nursing facility, which shares the same campus.

State agencies had issued an ultimatum after Hacienda HealthCare announced its decision to shut down Thursday. The provider would have to comply with an order to hire a long-term third-party management team. The other option was to allow the state Department of Health Services to hold licensing authority over the facility.

A closure would have forced the relocation of nearly 40 intellectually disabled patients, some of who are medically fragile.

State regulators vehemently opposed the idea. They also argued Hacienda contractually requires written consent from the state Department of Economic Security to close any operation.

The facility has been in turmoil since a 29-year-old patient gave birth on Dec. 29. Nathan Sutherland, a nurse whose DNA police said matches a sample from the baby, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he raped her.

Hacienda has struggled to meet the state’s request to hire a third-party management team to oversee daily operations. The provider had said its board “after a great deal of careful consideration, has come to understand that it is simply not sustainable to continue to operate our intermediate care facility.”

Hacienda operates the only privately-run intermediate care facility in Arizona. It currently serves 37 intellectually disabled children and adults. It would take weeks or months to transition all of them to other places.

“It’s not something you can do overnight,” said Will Humble, a former director of the Department of Health Services.

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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