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Soundview Clinic leaves patients hanging

Bronx Times

Borough medical clinics are stepping in to fill the gap left by Gov. Cuomo cutting off funding to embattled Pedro Espada’s Soundview Health Care Network.

The funding cutoff has left close to 20,000 patients flooding into local hospitals or seeking healthcare treatment elsewhere.

As Espada and his son Pedro Jr., accused of looting the clinic of government funds, were awaiting a jury verdict at their trial in Brooklyn Federal Court, other lawyers are battling it out in court over the state’s funding cutoff.

“They told my childen’s mother that they will not be able to accept her insurance,” said Hunts Point resident Steven Johnson as he stood outside Espada’s clinic on White Plains Road. “She has to go to another clinic, so you have to do what you have to do.”

Roman Gonzalez, 65, said even if he’s exonerated he would not believe Espada’s innocence.

“Espada’s a criminal,” said Gonzalez. “He stole that money that belonged to the people.”

Meanwhile, Urban Health Plan Community Health Center, Morris Heights Community Health Center, Medaliana Health Center and Acacai Health Network are among those other health care services that have stepped in to fill the health care gap.

Soundview was forced to stop treating patients last week after it began running short on medical supplies.

On Tuesday, clinic spokeswoman Rachel Fasciani told The Bronx Times the clinic was fully staffed and currently open, but experiencing severe cash flow issues.

It was offering only podiatry and gastro-intestinal medical services, she said, and taking dental and psychiatric patients “on an emergency basis.”

Other patients were being referred to local hospitals, she said.

Meanwhile, she said it’s lawyers are asking for state funds for services already rendered, and to be used to directly pay for supplies and employee salaries.

Bronx Supreme Court Justice Mark Friedlander had ordered the state Department of Health to release the funds, but the state is now appealing his ruling.

“For the state to not give funding back to the clinic is a crime,” Fasciani charged.

A spokesman for the state health department said “DOH complied with all applicable rules and regulations and honored all court orders that were issued.”

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