By Madeleine Wright

DREXEL HILL, Pa. (CBS) — Health care workers hit the picket line in Delaware County on Wednesday, angry over what they’re calling “dangerous shutdowns” and service cuts. They were joined in their protest by lawmakers.

Employees say the hospital is in crisis and that the service cuts are dangerous for the underserved patients they care for.

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Nurses and technicians at Delaware County Memorial Hospital say they are protesting their employers’ decision to sharply cut back on services, forcing patients to go elsewhere for care.

“The ICU is — May 23 is their last day,” Delaware County Nurses Association President Angela Neopolitano said. “The OR, May 20 is their last day. Outpatient services were cut April 4. Maternity was cut in January. Our drug and alcohol program was also cut in April.”

Drivers honked to show their support for the protest.

With the rate of the cuts, employees are worried they could lose their jobs.

“We went from having patients and sort of being busy to being not,” Delaware County Technical Employees Association President Cindy Buonopane said. “We were really stripped down to nothing at this point and our next step is closed.”

Delaware County Memorial Hospital is part of the Crozer-Keystone Health System.

Crozer’s parent company, Prospect Medical Holdings, is currently in the process of selling the hospitals.

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“I don’t think for-profit companies should run health care systems,” Rep. Mike Zabel said. “So I’m going to introduce a bill that’s going to place a moratorium on any health care operator being purchased by a for-profit entity.”

After the picket, several elected officials joined the crowd for a rally.

State Rep. Jennifer O’Mara, who’s seven months pregnant, says because there’s no maternity ward anymore, she has to deliver her baby at the next closest hospital which is in Montgomery County.

“I’m very privileged in that I can get there and drive there and make all my appointments there,” O’Mara said, “but how many women are in Delaware County who do not have that privilege and who are now struggling because of the lack of maternity wards?”

Crozer-Keystone Health System did not respond to a request for comment, but in a previous statement said it is committed “to providing safe, high-quality patient care. While we respect the union and its representation of our colleagues, we do not support the disruptive environment picketing may create.”

“We’re going to fight as hard as we can that they’re not going to close this hospital,” Neopolitano said.

Delaware-based nonprofit ChristianaCare is considering buying Crozer.

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Employees are hoping the new parent company will restore the services that the current parent company cuts.

Madeleine Wright