State health department to lay off 445 workers

From The Associated Press:

(AP) — BATON ROUGE, La. - Louisiana's health department will lay off 445 workers and eliminate 416 vacant jobs as part of $108 million in cuts needed to help balance the state budget.

Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine says most of the layoffs will be from 31 state-run group homes. He says their 156 residents will be moved to less expensive private group homes.

The department also plans to cut the rates it pays to doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and others that treat patients in the Medicaid.

Levine says the only areas that won't be cut are home-care services for the elderly and disabled, and private group homes that are expected to take in people being displaced from the state homes.

His department has the biggest cut of any state agency as Gov. Bobby Jindal works to eliminate a $248 million shortfall.

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