State health department to lay off 445 workers

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana's health department will lay off 445 workers - many of them at 31 state-run group homes - as part of $108 million in cuts.

Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine says the 156 developmentally disabled residents of the state-run homes will be moved to less expensive private group homes.

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

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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