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Hospital privatization plan gets commission approval

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BATON ROUGE- The Louisiana Civil Service Commission approved a play to layoff 350 employees at the state-run Southeast Louisiana Hospital, a mental facility located in Mandeville. 

The state is closing the hospital and allowing it to reopen under the control of private contractors.  State health leaders say it's no longer feasible for the government to operate the site.

The "Save Southeast Hospital" group is a grassroots organization opposed to the plan.  Members question the savings calculated by the state.  There is also concern about some employees losing their benefits after working for years at lower wages than the private sector. 

The Civil Service Commission approved the plan by a four-three vote.  The layoffs go into effect in early January.

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