BROOKLYN - Supporters of SUNY Downstate Medical Center packed eight buses and headed to the state capitol today to rally against proposed layoffs and spending cuts.

State lawmakers are considering several plans for the cash-strapped Brooklyn hospital, including letting a private contractor manage the hospital and converting it into an outpatient facility. Protesters argue the changes are a road map for the hospital's closure and will hurt the community.

About 400 workers have already received pink slips and another 1,000 are expected to be added to the layoff list in the coming months. SUNY Downstate officials say that declining reimbursements have forced the layoffs and service cuts as a means to stay afloat.