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ELLWOOD CITY, Pa. (KDKA/AP) — The new year is starting off on a sour note in Ellwood City.

KDKA has learned the latest setback for the Ellwood City Medical Center involves hospital employee health insurance. United Healthcare says it’s cancelling the hospital’s health insurance, at least temporarily, because of unpaid bills.

(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Bryce Lutz)

Meanwhile, employees of the hospital, and some hospital vendors, are wondering when and if they’re going to be paid.

Many hospital employees complain that their most recent bi-weekly paychecks, dated Dec. 21 bounced, because the new company that acquired the financially-struggling Lawrence County hospital just over a year ago had insufficient funds.

Employees next paychecks are due out on Friday.

A Florida-based company, Americore Health, took over the small Ellwood City hospital in October 2017 after the hospital reported losing millions of dollars.

Americore promised to solve the hospital’s financial problems, but so far, that hasn’t happened.

Hospital employees KDKA spoke with said they were under strict orders not to talk to the media, or say anything negative about Americore, or they could lose their jobs.

The hospital was founded in 1913.

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