Pennsylvania hospital announces closure on Facebook after feds seize records

Ellwood City (Pa.) Medical Center is officially closed, but state and federal officials are still investigating its owner's dealings, according to New Castle News.

"Ellwood City Medical Center is now closed," reads a statement from officials on the hospital's Facebook page. The closure announcement was made Jan. 31, one day after the FBI raided the facility and three days after it lost its license.

The hospital was operating under a provisional license in November when the Pennsylvania Department of Health ordered it to suspend inpatient and emergency services due to serious violations, including failure to pay employees and the inability to offer surgical services. The hospital's owner, Americore Health, suspended all clinical services at Ellwood City Medical Center Dec. 10. At that time, hospital officials said they hoped to reopen the facility in January.

Plans to reopen were halted Jan. 3 after the health department conducted an onsite inspection and determined the hospital "had not shown its suitability to resume providing any health care services." The hospital's provisional license expired Jan. 28 and has not been renewed. 

Americore Health, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December, has been the subject of federal and state investigations for more than a year. The FBI hasn't provided details about the recent raid, but Ellwood City Mayor Anthony J. Court confirmed federal agents were at the hospital for several hours Jan. 30 and "confiscated a lot of material," according to the report.

Mr. Court said efforts will be made to take over the facility, but Americore's bankruptcy case will likely extend that process.  

"Our community is strong," Mr. Court told New Castle News. "We are going to keep on top of the situation with federal authorities and state authorities, and, hopefully, we can get our medical center back through the legal system as soon as possible."

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