In December 2017, the Oklahoma State Department of Health announced it would be laying off 161 staff members on March 3. Eleven staffers have since quit or retired, leaving 150 people who lost their jobs at the end of the day on Friday, according to an OSDH spokesman.
The layoffs include 59 nurses from county health departments across the state, as well as social services specialists, patient care assistants and administrative assistants. Administrative positions from statewide programs like the Center for the Advancement of Wellness, the Partnerships for Health Improvement and the Center for Health Innovation and Effectiveness were also eliminated.
The Oklahoma City-County and Tulsa City-County health departments were not affected by the cuts because they operate independently from the state.
The state health department has been the subject of state and federal scrutiny since a $30 million shortfall at the agency was revealed in the fall of 2017. Several top officials have resigned in recent months, including Commissioner Terry Cline, Deputy Commissioner Julie Cox-Kain, chief financial officer Mike Romero and interim Commissioner Preston Doerflinger.
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