ALBANY—Just over a month ago now, shortly after State Senator Malcolm Smith made the fateful decision to demand some accountability to then conference-mate Pedro Espada Jr., I FOILed inspection records from his Soundview Healthcare Network, a nonprofit which Espada has allegedly used to promote his political campaigns. Espada has denied the charge.
Anyway, no smoking guns. A man who complained, loudly and repeatedly, about his kidney dialysis. A woman who claims she had HPV and wasn't told. The most serious charges were leveled after an October 12, 2006, inspection, which found things like improper oversight of some pharmaceuticals and a leaky ceiling. Corrective action there was signed off by the Health Department a month later.
Then there was the above complaint, filed by "a current patient at the facility whom insists on anonymity" on March 3, 2009. It alleges that, at the clinic on 731 White Plains Road, "over the past four months there has been a problem with the sewage line backing up into pipes within the building."
The report notes: "In the waiting area for mental health services, there is a ‘metal plate' on the waiting room floor. Water, toilet tissue, and particles of feces have been noted seeping around the plate and onto the waiting room floor. Unable to clarify the amount of seepage on floor, stating only ‘it's enough that patients are walking right through it.'"
Alexander Fear, Soundview's general counsel, confirmed there was a problem.
"Initially, we were snaking it, that seemed to work," he said. But the problem persisted, so "then we called in some experts and what they determined was a pipe under the building leading to the main sewer pipe had shifted and broken."
Soundview undertook a "major project" costing $20,000 that involved digging up and fixing the pipe.
"It's absolutely been corrected," Fear said.