As part of the statutory conditions outlined in a $30 million emergency appropriation for the agency, the Oklahoma State Department of Health has released its “Corrective Action Report.”
The 40-page document includes an overview of then-and-now operations from the agency, which has been rocked by scandal over the use of federal funds and controversial accounting practices.
The FBI has been involved in the ongoing criminal investigation, which Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has spearheaded at the state level.
Interim Commissioner of Health Preston Doerflinger — appointed by the Oklahoma State Board of Health in October to replace disgraced Commissioner of Health Terry Cline on a temporary basis — opens the Corrective Action Report with a one-page letter.
Doerflinger’s letter concludes:
As you read this report, you will find OSDH has already begun taking steps to reduce costs, such as suspending the child abuse prevention program, changing policies related to fleet utilization and reevaluating cell phone distribution criteria. You will find a brief description of the accounting issues under which the agency has been functioning and a clear and detailed path to financial health.
To ensure future administrations will have the qualifications to manage a large organization positively impacting Oklahoma’s health, OSDH senior leadership has worked to shore up an organizational structure, which will be proposed for the Board of Health’s approval.
A long and challenging road lies ahead. I look forward to laboring alongside all of the hardworking OSDH staff to build an agency foundation supporting Oklahoma’s health. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or suggestions regarding the information in this report.
Doerflinger has clashed with legislative leaders and Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones during ongoing House Special Investigation Committee hearings about the OSDH situation.
In the report, “completed cost reductions” are listed beginning on page 12. Page 15 lists “business processes and efficiencies,” including a new process for handling open records requests.
Page 17 of the report provides background on the agency’s accounting practices.
HB 1028X, sent to the governor on the final day of the Legislature’s first special session of 2017, set forth the requirements of the Corrective Action Report:
The corrective action report shall identify completed cost reductions, business processes and efficiencies to meet core public health services and and recommendations for improved financial controls at the State Department of Health that shall result in a 15 percent reduction in state appropriations by June 30, 2019.
Read the full Oklahoma State Department of Health ‘Corrective Action Report’
(Update: This story was updated to include information about HB 1028X at 2:45 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 2.)