Sudden shutdown of local hospital costing time and money for police, taxpayers

Sudden shutdown of local hospital costing time and money for police, taxpayers

ELLWOOD CITY, Pa. — The closing of a local hospital is now impacting how police deal with drunk drivers.

Ellwood City Medical Center shut down in November, and it has forced Ellwood City Police to drive out of town for blood tests every time they make a DUI arrest in the borough.

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The change is not only time consuming but expensive for taxpayers since it requires another officer to be called in for overtime to cover the borough. Two officers are required to be on-duty in the borough at all times, meaning a trip to New Castle requires officers to be called in.

The medical center’s parent company, Americore Health LLC, filed for bankruptcy in federal court earlier this week, putting the hospital’s future in serious doubt.

Mayor Tony Court said the borough recently spent $10,000 on its own blood test system to avoid the repeated trips, but it will be at least a month until it’s operational and officers are trained on the new system.

Court didn’t know how much this has cost taxpayers since the medical center closed, but he believes the in-house blood testing system will ultimately save a lot of money.

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