MEDICAID CUTS ESPADA HEALTH CLINIC

State ends support for care network as ex-senator nears trial on embezzlement charges

JIMMY VIELKIND CAPITOL BUREAU
Section: Main,  Page: A3

Date: Thursday, August 11, 2011

ALBANY -- The state Department of Health issued official notice Wednesday to the Soundview Health Network, a Bronx-based network of medical facilities run by former state Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr., that it will be kicked out of the state's Medicaid program effective Sept. 12.


DOH based its decision on findings from the state Office of Medicaid Inspector General, which found Soundview has failed "to develop and enact a comprehensive compliance program."


This includes keeping Espada and his son, Pedro Gautier Espada, in management roles after they were kicked out of the Medicaid program in January.


Both men are facing federal embezzlement charges for taking money from the network of clinics and spending it on luxury automobiles and high-end restaurants.


Espada did not return a call seeking comment. News of the pending state action was first reported Tuesday by the Associated Press and other outlets.


As he has done in the face of several earlier probes, Espada did not deny its central allegation but attacked its originator. In this case, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who Espada told the New York Daily News has a "personal obsession to take on and dominate my world and my manhood."


Soundview billed Medicaid for $6.3 million in 2009. Without state support, it may have to close.


Both Espadas have pleaded not guilty to the federal charges. Their trial is set to begin next month.