New Castle News

Local News

March 5, 2013

State to close health center here

NEW CASTLE — The state health center on Margaret Street in New Castle may close under Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed budget.

Corbett is proposing nearly half of the 60 county-based centers be eliminated and consolidated with those in neighboring counties.

State Rep. Chris Sainato said the Lawrence County center is to be consolidated with Mercer County’s in Jackson Center. Crawford County’s center in Meadville also is to be consolidated with Mercer County, according to the Erie Times-News.

The centers provide vaccinations and clinical and referral services for transmitted diseases.

Lawrence County’s center has two employees, a nurse and a clerk.

Sainato said he was told last month by representatives from the state health department of the closing.

He said his concern was that he didn’t “want anyone to lose their job. They assured me nobody would lose their job.”

The two employees apparently would be moved to Mercer County, he said.

Neither Michael Wolf, acting health department secretary, nor press secretary Aimee Tysarczyk, would confirm that the Lawrence County center is one of the facilities to be eliminated.

Wolf called the closing of some of the centers “a thoughtful proposal,” saying it’s a move to take the services to the people who need them.

“We believe we should be going out to the community instead of the community coming to us.

“Our people will still be in Lawrence County,” at senior centers and community centers, he noted.

The plan would keep 34 centers and eliminate the positions of 26 nurses who perform services handled by other agencies. More emphasis would be placed on nurses traveling to public gatherings as a way to administer things such as immunizations and, ultimately, serve more people, department spokeswoman Aimee Tysarczyk said Monday.

The nursing positions to be eliminated include those in district offices who largely work on chronic diseases, maternal health and school health, she said. Twenty-four other employees, including 14 clerk typists in the health centers, would also lose their jobs, she added.

Under collective bargaining agreements, Tysarczyk said, the unions “need to make the appropriate notification to their employees first before we can proceed” with closings.

The union that represents nurses said the move runs the risk of slowing down the detection or prevention of outbreaks of communicable diseases and will be felt most heavily in rural areas.

The union, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, also points out that Pennsylvania has fewer public health workers per capita than most other states and suggests the closings may violate a 1996 state law that says the Legislature’s approval is necessary.

The 60 health centers cost about $20 million to run. The closures would save $3.4 million, according to the health department.

Tysarczyk said the department could name only some of the health centers it wants to close because of agreements to notify the labor unions first. But she said health centers in Beaver, Blair, Carbon, Fulton, Mifflin, Potter and Somerset counties would close.

The union also said health centers in Adams, Armstrong, Clinton, Columbia, Crawford, Forest, Greene, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Montour, Perry, Pike, Snyder, Susquehanna, Union, Wyoming counties would close, as would health centers in Monessen in Westmoreland County and Wilkes-Barre in Luzerne County.

According to the health department’s website, services provided by the state health centers include communicable disease clinical services, which include sexually-transmitted disease and tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment, immunization, and HIV testing, counseling and education.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • HIShands.jpg Local youths team up with His Hands Ministries to do home repair for those who can’t afford it

    Area youth from various Lawrence County churches started lending a helping hand Wednesday to residents in need. The annual Lawrence County Youth Ministries service event brings together students and adults for three days of volunteering. It is part of His Hands Ministries, an initiative involving local churches and volunteers who split into work groups to perform  home improvement tasks for elderly and low-income homeowners in the community.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blight.jpg Funds would target Lower East Side demolition

    The Lawrence County planning department and New Castle officials are partnering to wipe out neighborhood blight. They plan to start with the city’s Lower East Side.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • movietheater.jpg Overcoming addiction theme of movie

    The movie, “Anonymous People” will be shown at 7:30 p.m. July 30 at Westgate Cinemas.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • BalloonQuest.jpg Balloon Quest ready to soar again this weekend

    The Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest will mark its 25th anniversary this weekend at Union Township’s Scotland Meadows Park.


    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Boatlaunch.jpg County pursuing funds for more boat launches

    Lawrence County planners are pursuing funds to complete more boat launches. At their meeting last week, the county commissioners agreed to apply for $74,000 from the Commonwealth Finance Authority, through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, for the matching funds.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Road.jpg FirstEnergy announces transmission line project

    FirstEnergy Corp. has announced plans to replace 9.6 miles of overhead electrical transmission line in Lawrence and Mahoning counties.


    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • gavel.jpg County seeks safety money for courthouse

    The Lawrence County commissioners are applying for a grant to help enhance safety at the government center.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Commissioners to meet in New Wilmington

    The Lawrence County commissioners have changed the time and place of their Aug. 29 meeting.

    July 22, 2014

  • money.jpg Treasurer reports tax collection amounts

    The Lawrence County treasurer’s office reported that it has collected $19,606,313 in 2014 county property taxes to date.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jasmine.tiff Dog Park dedication memorializes Jasmine

    The memory of Jasmine remains ever-present at the Shenango Senior Care in New Wilmington. Jasmine wasn’t a resident, nor was she a member of the staff, but the Black Labrador Retriever was a beloved regular at the facility.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo