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Friday, June 1, 2012 - 11:19am

Central State Closing and Laying Off 280

State officials have agreed to close a Middle Georgia hospital unit serving people with developmental disabilities. Two-hundred and eighty people are expected to lose their jobs.The closure comes after a settlement with the United States Justice Department.

More than 10 years ago the United States Supreme Court ruled that people with developmental disabilities had the right to live in less restrictive settings than hospitals

Georgia didn’t make that happen fast enough. So, the DOJ stepped in and threatened to take over the system.

Tom Wilson with the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities says by the end of the month everyone at Central State Hospital in Milledgeville will be moved into community-based care.

“Last fall there were over 120 people, and so we’ve made very steady progress in helping to find appropriate places for those folks to live to get the services that they need.” (:12)

Nearly 400 patients with developmental disabilities remain in state hospitals in Atlanta, Augusta, and Thomasville. By the end of 2015 most are expected to leave. At one time 12,000 patients lived at the hospital.