BROWNSVILLE - Community leaders and former Brookdale Hospital staffers staged a rally Monday outside after 240 workers were laid off.

Hospital officials laid off technicians, lab workers, nurses and doctors Monday, devastating hundreds of Brooklyn residents who have held their jobs with the hospital for numerous years. A statement issued by a hospital spokesperson says, "Recent reductions in Medicaid reimbursement ? have frozen inflation factors at a time when labor costs, pharmaceuticals, energy and malpractice costs continue to rise."

Brookdale Hospital employs more than 4,000 people and serves more than 1 million patients in Brownsville, East New York and Canarsie. According to staffers and community advocates, the job cuts will negatively impact service and patient care.

"They are downsizing the OR, downsizing pediatrics, downsizing [maternity], downsizing essential areas of service," one former worker says.