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      Layoffs could happen next summer at hospital

      Major downsizing is planned for the Fulton State Hospital.

      Hospital leaders met Monday with staff at the facility to break the news.

      The Missouri Department of Mental Health is planning to eliminate nearly 300 jobs in Fulton and transfer about 120 patients.

      A hospital spokesperson said the cuts are not set in stone. They are based on the proposed budget that is in the Missouri Senate.

      The job loss will likely take place by next summer when two minimum security facilities, the Guhlemn and Hearnes facilities, are shut down.

      Those places provide what the system calls acute care, short-term inpatient psychiatric interventions.

      "We're closing those operations because, for a variety of reasons, we believe that those short-term hospital services can and should be provided in the private sector by private hospitals, Department of Mental Health Mark Stringer said

      The Department of Mental Health said it hopes to reduce the number of lay-offs by transferring employees and not filling positions when people leave.

      Officials expect employee totals will gradually return to current levels over the next ten years.

      Read details of the possible layoffs