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In Mt. Kisco, Backers of Espada-Linked Group Ask Cuomo to Save It

Protestors demand that Cuomo change course on state's decision to pull Medicaid support from the group.

Supporters of a healthcare group founded by controversial former state Sen. Pedro Espada gathered in Mount Kisco on Monday, protesting and calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to change state plans to remove its Medicaid support.

Nearly 150 protestors chanted "Save SoundView HealthCare!" as they marched along South Moger Avenue, Main Street and other streets with signs. They stopped to talk to anyone who looked interested, informed people of the issues and collected signatures to keep their clinics open. The clinics provide health services to people in the Bronx on Medicaid and who are unable to pay.

The protestors were intent upon getting Governor Cuomo's attention, with the protest location chosen due to the proximity to his residence. Cuomo lives in New Castle, near Mount Kisco's western border.

Rachel Fasciani, a spokeswoman for the Soundview HealthCare Network, said they collected around 100 signatures from local residents and that people tended to express an interest.

"We came to Mount Kisco because the decision to exclude us has been a political decision by Cuomo," he said. "We wanted his hometown, a place served by its own Community Health Center, to know what was happening."

The beleaguered SoundView was connected to Espada's federal indictment in December 2010 over corruption charges. Espada and his son, Pedro Gautier Espada, are accused of embezzling money from the organization. When Cuomo was state attorney general, in April 2010, his office filed a civil suit against Espada that accused him of looting the group.

SoundView has faced demise ever since a decision last summer by the state's Health Department to end Medicaid reimbursement. SoundView announced that the decision was upheld last week by a Bronx judge.

“During a year in which the South Bronx has been counted as the poorest, the hungriest and the unhealthiest location in the nation, this decision is a death knell,” said Monica Harris-Coleman, SoundView Board Chair in a press release. “The people of our community are in great need; great need of healthcare, great need of social services and great need of humanity. Today, we are asking those needs be fulfilled by keeping Soundview open. ”

elizabeth mclaughlin January 03, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Sorry to be posting more than once but people have to pull up their own boot straps and assist one another, volunteer to help the elderly local church, healthcare facilities.
Lance Dugby January 04, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Ever wonder why these professional picketers are not demonstrating or rioting in front of Espadas home demanding he give back the money he is accused of stealing. If he was a Republican they would be all over his lawn.
JJ January 04, 2012 at 01:38 PM
It's a sad situation but it's a fact of life that the FINANCIAL WELL is dry in Westchester County as it is in many other communities across the United Sates. America was , maybe still is, a melting pot where people come together to better their existences. However, over the years America has become an economic safety valve for other countries who lack adequate infrastructure to support their growing populations. The result is a mad rush to America where these good folks believe that they'll be taken care of the rest of their lives with other people's monies. There are a lot of intelligent people posting here with Web sites & facts / figures. Here's the reality check ; take a close look at your city, town or village and ask if it's any better than it was 30 years ago? If so for whom? Certainly NOT the Taxpayer's & home owners. America's infrastructure has collapsed and the well is too dry to fix it. How many people DON'T pay taxes in America again?
Aidan January 04, 2012 at 11:17 PM
The world is a rough place ... but there comes a point of sheer reality. And now government ... on all levels ... has to learn the magic word: "No".
JJ January 04, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Succinctly put!

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