Judge won’t halt plan to close Pa. health centers

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A judge has denied a request to immediately stop a plan by Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration to close nearly half of Pennsylvania’s 60 community health centers.

Corbett’s Department of Health said it’ll move ahead with its plan following Thursday’s Commonwealth Court decision.

The month-old lawsuit by a state employees’ union, Department of Health nurses and several Democratic state lawmakers remains pending.

The lawsuit says the plan violates a 1996 law that requires legislative approval before closing any centers.

But Department of Health officials say their plan is legal and they can do a better job treating public health problems by making community health nurses more mobile.

The union says closing the centers runs the risk of slowing the detection or prevention of outbreaks of communicable diseases, particularly in rural areas.

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