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Patients, employees scramble as Berwick Hospital Center closes

A hospital in Berwick is closing, leaving employees and patients wondering what happens next.

BERWICK, Pa. — There's a steady stream of people walking in and out of the Berwick Hospital Center. Most of them were not here because they were sick. They were here to get their medical records.

"Everyone is in a scramble trying to find, and a lot of places aren't accepting new patients. You've got a lot of people who are elderly and have chronic health conditions that need to be managed, and now they're facing not even being able to get medications," Aubrey Taney of Shickshinny said.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health confirms the Berwick Hospital Center will close within 90 days

Late last week, the hospital owners closed the doors of three nearby clinics.

Providers there feared the hospital would be next, and those fears have now played out.

"Nobody knows anything. The doctors are out of jobs. They don't know what they're going to do. I'm sure they're worried about their patients," Alberta Eckart of Berwick said. 

Alberta and William Eckart have been coming to this hospital for more than 50 years.

"My husband had an appointment next week with Verona, and we have no idea," Eckart said.

Borough officials said they also just found out about the planned closure, and there is concern about not having an emergency room here in Berwick.

"We can't make a private enterprise do or not do something. We hear people, and as this develops, anything that we can do to be of support, we will try to," Berwick Borough Manager Damien Scoblink said.

The closest emergency room is in Bloomsburg, which is about 20 minutes away. That's where Matthew Sellers of Berwick will probably go.

"Now we've gotta go to Geisinger, which stinks, but what are you gonna do. There aren't any other real hospitals around here besides Geisinger," Sellers said.

Berwick Hospital Center is owned by Priyam Sharma. The state Department of Health confirms Sharma plans to close this hospital and has applied to transition it into a psychiatric hospital.

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