As of November 27, 2019, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has suspended all emergency room and inpatient services at Ellwood City Medical Center in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. The closure of all but outpatient services at Ellwood City Medical Center is related to undisclosed violations of Pennsylvania regulations intended to protect the safety of patients. Per the information the Ellwood City Ledger acquired from Ellwood City’s mayor, the health department imposed the closures after an inspection revealed “deficient” equipment in the hospital.
Perhaps more concerning than the alleged violations is the news of Ellwood City Medical Center’s financial troubles. The hospital, which has struggled financially for years, was acquired in 2017 by Florida based company Americore Health, LLC. Ellwood City Medical Center is among several rural, financially challenged hospitals that Americore acquired in recent years. Americore has apparently failed to improve the hospital’s economic well-being thus far considering reports of ongoing payroll problems, including delayed and partial salary payments to hospital employees and late charges for utility services in the amount of $250,000.
Ellwood City Medical Center’s problems are very unfortunate for the members of the community who rely on the hospital to provide the medical care they need. With the shutdown and economic troubles affecting hospital workers, we fear that the climate within the hospital is more likely to lead to medical errors. If and when the hospital reopens for patients who need emergency treatment or inpatient medical care, we hope patients and health care providers alike can look past the current turmoil, remain focused on the patient, and continue to care about doing everything necessary to assure quality medical care.
Additional information on this closure is available from the following news sources: