Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Former State Sen. Pedro Espada's Bronx clinic ordered off Medicaid by Cuomo administration

Wednesday, August 10th 2011, 5:37 PM

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration recommended removing former State Sen. Pedro Espada's health care center from Medicaid funding.
Victor Chu for News
Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration recommended removing former State Sen. Pedro Espada's health care center from Medicaid funding.

ALBANY - The Cuomo administration Wednesday recommended yanking former state Sen. Pedro Espada's Bronx health care clinics from the Medicaid program.

The decision was based on the Soundview Health Care Network's failure to develop and enact a comprehensive compliance program, acting state Medicaid Inspector General James Cox said.

Soundview has 30 days to answer the complaint before officials decide whether to yank its Medicaid license, which would cost the network $10 million.

Espada could not be immediately reached for comment, but on Tuesday vowed to fight keep Soundview open. He accused Gov. Cuomo of continuing a vendetta against him that began when Cuomo was attorney general.

The Medicaid IG's office conducted on-site reviews in May, took depositions from two top Soundview officials and subpoenaed thousands of pages of documents, Cox said.

Espada, president and CEO of Soundview, and his son, Pedro G. Espada, were excluded in January from participating in the Medicaid program, meaning they could not be paid from funds from the government program.

The IG cited several problems, including Soundview's refusal to remove Espada and his son from management roles and a lack of business operations oversight.

Cox also cited the decision to give Espada a multi-year contract in December despite the former senator being charged in a federal indictment of misusing $500,000 in Soundview money.

Espada spokeswoman Rachel Fasciani has said the community would suffer if Soundview is forced to shut its doors.

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