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ELLWOOD CITY (KDKA) — The on-again, off-again payroll mess keeps getting messier at the Ellwood City Medical Center.

In recent months, with this community’s only hospital under the new ownership of a company called Americore, the hospital has either sent out late paychecks or employee paychecks have bounced.

Friday was another payless payday at the struggling hospital.

At the 5th Street Nail Salon Friday night, they were hosting a birthday party for a 9-year-old, but all around town, the uncertainty about the future of the hospital had cast a shadow over the Lawrence County Borough.

Jeri Raugh says her daughter worked at the Medical Center.

“It’s very sad. We need that hospital here. We really do. I love that hospital,” she said.

“The community is suffering all the way around because if they’re not making money, our vendors, our people here aren’t making money,” Fran Balla said.

“[Ellwood City Medical Center] did not meet the payroll [Friday]. There were some meetings, I guess, with the higher-ups. There was speculation of maybe some layoffs, but that didn’t come to fruition,” Ellwood City Mayor Anthony Court said.

Court is a member of the hospital’s Board of Control.

“We’re all on pins and needles here. We need this hospital desperately. The employees, I gotta give them so much credit, the ones that are working there. They’re still working hard. That’s tough to do when you’re not getting paid,” he said.

The hospital didn’t pay its December electric bill, so Court said Ellwood City would ignore penalty or interest charges on the electric bill for the next three months. The only stipulation, the Borough’s mayor says the money saved has to go to help some of the hospital employees. It totals about $20,000.

With no end to the hospital problems in sight, the U.S. Department of Labor has been asked by Congressman Mike Kelly for an investigation and to try to help resolve the issues.