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Civil service panel rejects layoff plan for Moss Regional, other LSU hospitals

Last Modified: Wednesday, June 05, 2013 4:55 PM

BATON ROUGE (AP) — The state Civil Service Commission refused Wednesday to approve layoff plans tied to Gov. Bobby Jindal's deals to privatize four LSU hospitals.

The commission voted 4-3 to reject the layoffs of about 3,000 state employees at the hospitals in New Orleans, Lafayette, Houma and Lake Charles.

The Advocate reported that commissioners complained about the lack of information provided by LSU about the privatization deals.

Civil Service is the state's human resources agency. The commission is charged with overseeing layoff plans when contracts outsource jobs that traditionally have been held by state employees.

Hospital layoffs were scheduled for June 24.

Michael Kaiser, chief executive officer of the LSU Health Care Services Division, said the university system would provide more information — and the commission set a Monday date for a special meeting to reconsider the layoffs.

"We expect approval of the plans with no delays to their implementation," Michael DiResto, spokesman for the governor's Division of Administration, said in an email.

Jindal is seeking to privatize hospital operations at nine facilities in the LSU's 10-hospital system that cares for the poor and uninsured and that provides training sites for many of Louisiana's medical students.

Just over 3,500 employees work at the four hospitals, and 2,953 are classified, or rank-and-file, employees. The others are unclassified workers who do not have civil service job protection.

The majority, nearly 1,700 employees, are at the Interim LSU Hospital in New Orleans. Another 487 are at the University Medical Center in Lafayette, 556 at Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center in Houma, and 220 at W.O. Moss Medical Center in Lake Charles.

The operation of all four hospitals are being taken over by private hospitals in the cities where they are located, under deals reached among the private entities, LSU and the state Department of Health and Hospitals.

Previously, the Civil Service Commission approved employee layoffs at Earl K. Long Medical Center in Baton Rouge. The hospital closed April 15 with inpatient and outpatient care as well as medical education programs moved to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.

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