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DA launches investigation into Ellwood City hospital that suspended employees' pay

ELLWOOD CITY, Pa. — Channel 11 has learned Ellwood City Medical Center is now under investigation by the Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office.

RELATED: Mayor concerned about future of hospital as workers go nearly month without pay

Channel 11 obtained a copy of a search warrant looking into allegations of theft and bad check practices by Americore Health.

In December, the company suspended pay for employees at the hospital, who said their previous paychecks had bounced.

"We were in bad shape, but they came in and finished it off," said Shirley Spaniel, who worked at the hospital for more than 30 years before she was laid off when Americore Health took over the facility last year.


According to a search warrant, detectives say the hospital isn’t making payroll, has bounced checks nine times in five months, has unpaid bills and even canceled employees' health care. One employee had 11 paychecks bounce, the DA's office said.

According to the search warrant, employees are under strict orders not to talk to media or say anything negative about the hospital or they will lose their jobs, even being required to sign nondisclosure agreements.

Despite all that, employees keep coming to work for no pay in order to keep the century-old hospital running for the residents who depend on it.

"You won’t know what you’re missing until it’s too late," Spaniel said. "Might not live to make it to another hospital."