Psychiatric hospital slated for December closure

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana health officials are working to ratchet down services at a state-run psychiatric hospital in St. Tammany Parish, with plans to shutter it by December, even as state lawmakers and local elected leaders are grappling for ways to keep it open.

Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration decided to close Southeast Louisiana Hospital and shift patients to other public and private health care facilities to save money, after Louisiana's federal Medicaid funding was cut.

Kathy Kliebert, deputy secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals, says the hospital and its 176 inpatient beds will be closed by the end of the year.

Mandeville Sen. Jack Donahue says community leaders are searching for private providers who might be interested in buying or leasing the facility, in the hopes of keeping it open.

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