Top officials at the Mississippi State Department of Health say they're trying to prevent layoffs for 41 employees and 41 contract workers.
Dr. Mary Currier, the state health officer, said that the social workers were told April 15 their jobs could be eliminated July 1.
The 82 people were among those who worked for a program to help women with high-risk pregnancies. In December, the program was moved out of the Health Department and into a managed-care program that's under the Division of Medicaid.
Because the Health Department had no other duties for the 82 workers, officials started the lengthy process to end those jobs.
Currier says it's possible the high-risk pregnancy program will be moved back to the Health Department before July 1. That would save the jobs.