|(File photo by Jeanmarie evelly)|
In a decision announced yesterday afternoon, the State Department of Health terminated the network of health care clinics run by former Bronx Sen. Pedro Espada, Jr. and his son from the state's Medicaid program-a move that will essentially mean closure for the five medical centers of the Soundview Network, which operate almost entirely on reimbursement funds from Medicaid patients.
The reason for the exclusion, the Health Department said, is Soundview's failure to comply with state laws that “are designed to ensure that Medicaid dollars are properly accounted for and that systems are in place to ensure that all claims for funding are valid.”
Just hours before the announcement, the State's Office of the Medicaid Inspector General released a letter recommending Soundview be cut, also citing the organization's failure to comply as well as a “lack of oversight” of the business operations there, and the fact that both Espada and his son, Pedro Gautier Espada, are still leading the company, despite being barred from participating in the Medicaid program themselves back in January.
Both Espadas are facing trial on federal charges that they embezzled more than $500,000 from Soundview, spending the money on luxury car payments and exorbitant sushi restaurant tabs.
Espada held a press conference Tuesday night, defiantly declaring “this clinic will not close,” to a group of reporters and blaming the attacks against him on political targeting by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo, in his previous role as Attorney General, first raised the embezzlement charges against Espada in a civil suit