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Dec 31, 2012 4:53 AM by AP/CS

New hospital firm hires about 125 of 354 laid off

MANDEVILLE, La. (AP) - The new private operator of a St. Tammany Parish psychiatric hospital has hired about 125 of the 354 workers laid off by the state.

Friday was the last day of work for many employees of Southeast Louisiana Hospital, who were laid off when the state decided to privatize it, the Advocate reports.

Meridian Behavioral Health System takes over Wednesday.

It's not clear exactly how many people will be left without a job, because some state employees are retiring and a few others are transferring.

The hospital had 176 beds before the changes but will now have 58 - 42 for adolescents and 16 for adults. Meridian is seeking a lower-level license for 75 beds for adolescents, says Kathy Kliebert, deputy secretary of the state Department of Health and Hospitals.

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