A three-day strike by 240 nurses at Armstrong County Memorial Hospital, Kittanning, Pa., effectively shut down the 170-bed hospital. Only outpatient areas and the emergency department are being staffed with agency nurses, said Anne Remaley, the hospital's vice president of human resources. "With our economic and financial condition, you can't afford to staff a hospital with agency nurses," Remaley said. The strike will cost the hospital $150,000 a day, she said. Hospital officials plan to begin admitting patients again Thursday, when the strike is scheduled to end. The hospital started transferring or discharging 106 patients last Wednesday after receiving a 10-day strike notice from the Pennsylvania State Education Association. The walkout also resulted in the temporary layoff of 171 nonunion employees. Talks over a new contract for the nurses have stalled over wages and pension. The previous contract expired April 15. In an open letter to the community, hospital officials said Armstrong has lost money in three of the past five years, including a $2 million loss in 2003. -- by Cinda Becker
Nurses' strike temporarily shuts down Pa. hospital
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