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After Less Than Four Months, Oklahoma Public Health Lab Director Quits

Oklahoma Health Care Authority
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and other state officials attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony for relocated Public Health Lab in Stillwater, Okla. in January 2021.

Oklahoma’s new public health lab director will depart after less than four months, as drama surrounding the lab continues.

The Frontier reported Thursday that Oklahoma Public Health Laboratory Director Dr. Michael Kayser submitted his resignation in April, three months after entering the position.

The lab has been a matter of controversy since October, when the Stitt Administration announced it would move the facility to Stillwater. Critics said the lab shouldn’t leave Oklahoma City’s biomedical hub, that the move would affect the quality of service, and was too sudden for the lab’s workforce to adjust.

Since then, state health officials announced they were investigating the lab’s infant blood tests, a critical service for each baby born in the state, and outsourcing the process in the meantime. Earlier this week, health officials announced they were outsourcing another test — tuberculosis — to state health departments in Texas and Missouri.

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Catherine Sweeney grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and attended Oklahoma State University. She has covered local, state and federal government for outlets in Oklahoma, Colorado and Washington, D.C.
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