Pennsylvania hospital cuts more than half of staff amid financial woes, service ban

After it was ordered to cease inpatient and emergency services by the Pennsylvania Health Department, Ellwood City (Pa.) Medical Center has laid off 92 employees, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

The state health department cited serious violations of state health law in ordering the shutdown and suspension of admissions to the facility last week.

Ellwood City Medical Center CEO Beverly Annarumo told the Post-Gazette that a decline in patient hospitalizations, an issue with submitting timely payments and the recent service shutdown resulted in the decision to lay off staff. 

"It is a sad day for me, for these families that are affected and for our community," Ms. Annarumo said. 

About 70 staff members remain employed at the hospital, she said.

While the specific "serious violations" that caused the shutdown were not disclosed last week, Ms. Annarumo said the temporary service halt came after a CT scanner went down.

Ms. Annarumo said the hospital's owner, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Americore Health, is deciding whether to lease a new CT scanner or repair the current machine.

"We cannot operate the [emergency department] or have patients admitted without this critical piece of equipment," Ms. Annarumo told the Post-Gazette, adding that "we also have some documentation issues that needed to be addressed."

The hospital is still providing outpatient care.

The hospital has struggled financially for years, according to the report. The city said the hospital owes it $250,000 for electric bills and $100,000 in property taxes.

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