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Arizona Pioneers' Home
The Hospital for Disabled Miners was established in 1929. Current statutory authority is found at A.R.S. §§41-941 through 41-942.
Section 25 of Arizona’s 1910 Enabling Act set aside 50,000 acres of land to be held in trust for hospitals for disabled miners. Section 28 of the Enabling Act, as well as specific provisions in the Arizona Constitution, govern disposition of trust lands and distribution of trust funds for beneficiaries. Congressional amendments to the Enabling Act, adopted in 1999, allow monies in the Miners’ Hospital Endowment Fund to be used to cover expenses for disabled miners who reside at the Arizona Pioneers’ Home.
A state hospital for miners with disabilities was established for Arizona residents who worked in the mining industry, and are either financially unable to support themselves or suffered incapacitating injuries arising in the course of mining. In order to be eligible for admission a person must be at least 60 years of age. The Governor may allow a person who has not reached the age of 60 to be admitted to the hospital if there is space available and the person meets all other requirements for admission.
Authority to establish Hospitals for Disabled Miners was enacted in 1929, to be built adjacent to the Pioneers’ Home and managed by the Board of Directors of State Institutions. The measure established eligibility requirements to be admitted to the Miners’ Hospital, which required a person to be a U.S. citizen, a resident of Arizona for at least 35 years, have followed the occupation of mining for 20 years in the state, be at least 60 years of age, and was either financially unable to support himself or had suffered incapacitating injuries arising during the course of mining.
Laws 1929, Chapter 73 authorized the State Treasurer to transfer monies derived from trust land set aside for the Miners’ Hospital to the Board of Directors of State Institutions in order to build the hospital. In addition, the measure appropriated $40,000 from the state general fund for construction of the hospital.
In 1974, oversight for the Miners’ Hospital was transferred to the newly created Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). The State Board of Health existed from 1913 until 1974. The State Department of Health existed from 1941 until 1974. The successor agency, ADHS, absorbed a number of agencies including the State Department of Health, Arizona Health Planning Authority, Crippled Children’s Services, Arizona State Hospital, Pioneers’ Home, Miners’ Hospital, and the Anatomy Board. The Director of ADHS, rather than the Governor, was authorized to manage the Disabled Miners’ Hospital, determine qualifications for admission and approve claims and expenses of the Hospital. See Laws 1973, Chapter 158.
Section 320 of the 1973 measure outlined specific requirements related to the effective date, a transition period and a plan of assumption for the functions that were transferred to ADHS.
The authority, funding, functions and programs that had been repealed and transferred to ADHS were allowed to continue for a period of time in order to allow for establishment of the new agency. An executive order certifying a plan of assumption was required in order to establish an effective date for the new agency. Governor Jack Williams issued a series of executive orders in 1974 (See EO 74-2, EO 74-3, EO 74-4, and EO 74-6). The Director of ADHS was required to work with a legislative committee until July 1, 1975 regarding organization and operation of the Department.
Laws 1976, Chapter 90 reversed the transfer of responsibility of the Disabled Miners’ Hospital to ADHS made in 1973, and returned control of the Hospital to the Governor.
Laws 1988, Chapter 90 clarified the Disabled Miners’ Hospital was a separate facility, rather than an adjacent facility, at the Pioneers’ Home in Prescott. The measure also modified qualifications for admission to the Hospital, requiring a person to have been a resident of the state while in the occupation of mining, rather than having been in the occupation for 20 years.
In April 1997, the Auditor General issued a performance audit of the Pioneers’ Home and Disabled Miners’ Hospital. The report included a number of recommendations, including a warning that the pattern of current state expenditures of Disabled Miners’ Hospital Endowment Fund monies violated the Arizona Enabling Act. “The Fund was established to construct and operate a hospital for disabled miners, but Arizona has never established such a facility. Instead, the State has been using the fund to care for a limited number of disabled miners and other residents of the Arizona Pioneers’ Home.” The report recommended discontinuing using the Endowment Fund for purposes of supporting the Pioneers’ Home and petitioning Congress for a change in Arizona’s Enabling Act.
Laws 1999, Chapter 210 designated the Pioneers’ Home as the Hospital for Disabled Miners for purposes of the Enabling Act. The measure also included a request to the U.S. Congress to approve the federal measure entitled the Arizona Statehood and Enabling Act Amendments of 1999. The Legislative findings and intent clause explained the Enabling Act established limitations on the expenditure of monies generated by lands held in trust for specific beneficiaries. The Enabling Act required the Disabled Miners’ Land Fund to be used exclusively for a hospital for disabled miners. Because the fund was insufficient to support construction of a new facility, the Legislature asked Congress to amend the Enabling Act to recognize that the Pioneers’ Home would also serve as the Disabled Miners’ Hospital and to allow monies in the Disabled Miners’ Land Fund to be used to support the operation of the Pioneers’ Home.
In 1999, the U.S. Congress granted the Legislative request and amended the Arizona Enabling Act by adding language to Section 28 to allow “amounts in the Miners’ Hospital Endowment Fund to be used for the benefit of the Arizona Pioneers’ Home.” The Congressional measure included a retroactive effective date of June 20, 1910. See H.R. 747, 113 Stat. 1682.
Laws 2005, Chapter 91 excluded persons whose work for a mine was administrative or clerical in nature from admission to the Miners’ Hospital, unless that person was exposed to environmental conditions that were detrimental to a person’s health. The measure grandfathered anyone who was a resident of the Hospital on the effective date of the act.
Related Collections at Arizona State Archives
Record Group 056 – Arizona Pioneers’ Home, 1910-2000