Americore/Ellwood and Pennsylvania Labor Board
From The Ellwood city Ledger
ELLWOOD CITY — On the same day a representative of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry appeared at the Ellwood City Medical Center Monday to investigate ongoing payroll delays, it appears a criminal probe has been opened into the situation there.
Workers who had not been paid since Dec. 21 were issued cashiers checks on Friday for that pay period, Ellwood City Mayor Tony Court said Monday, however he said payments that were due that day still have not been made. He said his understanding is the checks will be distributed Tuesday. This is at least the ninth time since August that payroll problems have been reported at the hospital.
Meanwhile, a Labor Department investigator was at the center Monday to look into what led to the delays and what is being done to rectify the situation. State Rep. Aaron Bernstine, R-10, New Beaver, who attended the initial meeting between the investigator and hospital leaders, said he urged the department to do what it can to make sure the approximately 180 employees there are being compensated for their work and pledged his assistance in any way needed.
Before the meeting, Bernstine also sent a letter to Lawrence County District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa suggesting his office should open a criminal investigation into the handling of finances at the medical center by Americore Health LLC, a Florida-based for-profit company that acquired the former Ellwood City Hospital in October 2017.
Reached Monday afternoon, Lamancusa responded, “I cannot comment on pending criminal investigations.”
Americore Health also owns hospitals in Kentucky and Arkansas, is seeking to reopen a closed hospital in southern Virginia and has bid $10 million to buy a closed facility in the St. Louis area. WRIL-FM reported Monday that the Kentucky Labor Council is investigating a series of payroll delays at Americore’s Southeastern Kentucky Medical Center in Pineville, Ky.
Attempts to reach Grant White, CEO of Americore Health, were unsuccessful Monday.