Friday, December 30, 2011

State can bounce Pedro Espada Jr. health care operation from Medicaid, judge rules

Espada claimed Gov. Cuomo was mounting a 'vendetta' against him by targeting Soundview Health Care Network

Thursday, December 22 2011, 9:23 PM

  Inauguration ceremony for Senator Pedro Espada, Jr. at the Lehman College Center for the Performing Arts.- making his speech after the swearing in.
Linda Rosier/New York Daily News

Then-state Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. was nearing the height of his influence at the mike in January 2009 swearing-in, but his fall from power continued Thursday when a judge ruled the Cuomo administration had the right to kick Espada's health network out of the state's Medicaid program.

A BRONX judge on Thursday upheld the Cuomo administration’s decision to dump ex-state Sen. Pedro Espada’s Bronx health care network from the Medicaid program.

The decision could spell the end for Espada’s Soundview Health Care Network because Medicaid bucks account for some 70% of its funding.

Bronx Supreme Court Justice Mark Friedlander sided with the state Health Department, which in August had moved to remove Soundview from Medicaid. The agency cited Soundview’s failure to develop and follow a comprehensive compliance program as required by law.

Espada, who faces an upcoming corruption trial, was bounced from the Medicaid program in January, but he remains in the company’s hierarchy.

After the Health Department’s ruling, the network was granted a temporary stay, with Espada accusing Gov. Cuomo of pursuing a personal vendetta.

The decision was projected to cost the network more than $6 million a year. Monica Harris-Coleman, chairwoman of the network’s board, blasted the judge’s ruling, saying 20,000 patients would be affected.

“Government does not have a right to dictate how and where patients are seen by their medical providers, nor does it have the right to interfere with lawful employment contracts,” she said.

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