KGOU

Oklahoma State Department of Health

Preston Doerflinger speaks at the Cleveland County Health Department on November 6, 2017.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The Oklahoma State Department of Health is looking for a new interim commissioner after Preston Doerflinger abruptly resigned Tuesday.

The Board of Health voted unanimously to accept Doerflinger’s resignation, which came one day after allegations of a 2012 domestic dispute in Tulsa were reported by The Frontier.

Oklahoma Watch

Update from Health Department spokesman Tony Sellars: “The Oklahoma State Department of Health confirms the resignation of CFO Mike Romero. The agency will not have any additional comment at this time.”

Storme Jones / KGOU

State Rep. Josh Cockroft says he was surprised at the lack of financial oversight in agencies like the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

In an interview with Capitol Insider’s Dick Pryor and Shawn Ashley, Cockroft, who is chairing a special investigative committee looking into the health department, said the committee has received more than 60 tips about mismanagement across multiple state agencies.

“It's concerning. You would never run a business like that,” Cockroft said.

 

AP Photo

State Rep. Josh Cockroft says he was surprised at the lack of financial oversight in agencies like the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

In an interview with Capitol Insider’s Dick Pryor and Shawn Ashley, Cockroft, who is chairing a special investigative committee looking into the health department, said the committee has received more than 60 tips about mismanagement across multiple state agencies.

“It's concerning. You would never run a business like that,” Cockroft said.

Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press

Seven years ago, with Oklahoma stuck near the bottom in key public health rankings, the Oklahoma State Department of Health and Gov. Mary Fallin set out to reshape the strategy for markedly improving health outcomes for Oklahomans.

The approach would involve new health department initiatives, partnerships, educational efforts and other programs.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

On June 26, voters will decide if Oklahoma will become the 30th state to legalize marijuana for medical use. But regulating the new industry could prove difficult.

If State Question 788 passes, licenses will be required for each stage of marijuana cultivation, including dispensaries, commercial growers, processors, and individual medical marijuana cards.

Cuts announced at the state health department suggest leaner services for years to come.
Oklahoma Watch

At community health centers across Oklahoma, new patients typically have to wait more than two months for a dentist appointment. Those waits may get even longer.

And throughout swaths of rural Oklahoma, nonprofits that provide child-abuse prevention services for hundreds of families have halted their programs. Others are looking for alternative funding sources to stay afloat.

Oklahoma Watch

Documents released Friday by the state Department of Health include a summary of alleged deceptions within the agency that include fraudulent budget reports to state finance officials and omissions in reporting the agency’s financial position to the Legislature and the State Board of Health.

Oklahoma Watch

The cash crisis at the Oklahoma State Department of Health, which was years in the making, raises questions about which agencies and state officials could have caught the agency’s reported financial mismanagement.

At first glance, state government appears to have the powers and expertise to detect  financial irregularities occurring at the health department from 2011 to 2017.

Oklahoma Watch

The state’s multicounty grand jury is looking into allegations of financial mismanagement at the Oklahoma State Department of Health as top officers continue to resign or get forced out in the wake of the agency’s sudden cash crunch.

Preston Doerflinger speaks at the Cleveland County Health Department on November 6, 2017.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The new head of the Oklahoma State Department of Health says the agency has been spending more than its annual revenue since 2011.

Interim Commissioner Preston Doerflinger said Monday that accounting tricks were used to move money between different accounts.

Oklahoma Watch

The Oklahoma State Department of Health went more than a year without a chief financial officer, and questions later arose about whether the agency overestimated revenues and used restricted federal funds to fill the gaps, sources told Oklahoma Watch.

However, a former chief financial officer at the agency said he had no knowledge of restricted funds being used to cover shortfalls.

Oklahoma Commissioner of Health Terry Cline
Warren Vieth / Oklahoma Watch

The top official and a senior deputy at the Oklahoma State Department of Health have resigned amid findings that the agency overspent and mismanaged finances for years.

Jeff Raymond / Oklahoma Watch

A cash crunch that emerged over the summer at the state Health Department goes beyond the state’s current budget shortfall and caused the department to reach out to public health agencies in Oklahoma and Tulsa counties for help in shoring up its finances.

jfcherry / Flickr.com

Five county health department locations in Oklahoma will close July 1 due to the state’s projected $1.3 billion budget shortfall. Deborah Nichols, chief operating officer at the Oklahoma State Department of Health, told The Oklahoman’s Jaclyn Cosgrove the closings are only a portion of the department’s cuts.

Nathan and Brooke Hall.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Brooke Hall has lived in the Parkway Mobile Home Park most of her life. She’s never really liked the taste of the water that comes from the park’s wells, but she didn’t think it could be dangerous until she was in the hospital giving birth to her son.

“Doctors and nurses told me I needed to stop breastfeeding while they did blood work and tested for lead because they were afraid that, because I was drinking the water, that it would be passed through to him,” she says.

Samantha Hanaway, left, holds her son as she meets with Kourtney Waganer, a family support specialist with Parent Promise.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

The Oklahoma State Department of Health has said it will cut services to handle the $1.3 billion budget shortfall. One of those is the Start Right child abuse prevention program, which costs about $2.2 million,  and affects 700 families who receive help raising their kids through educational activities and home visits.

What Budget Drama’s End May Mean For Key State Services

May 23, 2015
State Reps. Elise Hall (far right) and Katie Henke (center) applaud as the state House adjourns sine die Friday afternoon.
M. Scott Carter / Oklahoma Watch

The 55th session of the Oklahoma Legislature adjourned for the year late Friday afternoon, quietly ending four months’ worth of fighting over money, morals and museums.

For most of the session, a shadow hung over everything: a $611 million budget hole. 

Lawmakers chose to adjourn the session a week early, just days after they wrapped up work on the state’s $7.2 billion budget.

The budget cut funding to career and technology education, higher education and transportation. At the same time, more funds were steered to mental health services, public safety and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. Even with budget hikes, however, key agencies said they would likely have to cut spending.

In a move that surprised many, the Legislature approved a $25 million bond issue for the beleaguered American Indian Cultural Center and Museum in Oklahoma City and a second $25 million bond issue for a museum of popular culture in Tulsa.

Lawmakers also debated issues such as same-sex marriage.

The shrinking pool of money available for appropriation quickly became the session’s central theme.

In February, after the Board of Equalization certified a funding estimate millions below the 2014 prediction, lawmakers went into damage-control mode. They warned agency heads little money would be available for next year.

“We’ve been telling them all session there would be cuts,” said Rep. Dennis Casey, R-Morrison, vice-chairman of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee.

By May, agency directors were convinced.

An electron micrograph of the measles virus
Cynthia S. Goldsmith / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Oklahoma State Department of Health has confirmed a case of measles in Stillwater and says others may have been exposed.

The department said Friday this is the first confirmed case of measles inOklahoma since 1997.

The infected person is an international traveler married to an Oklahoma State University student and lives off campus.

Oklahoma State Senator Kimberly David, R-Porter
Oklahoma State Senate

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services heard from four agencies during budget hearings Monday, three of which asked for budget increases.

Subcommittee Chair Sen. Kimberly David said the decrease in the state’s budget would impact the appropriated funds to the agencies.

“The ongoing conversation that we’re going to have is the fact that we have a budget deficit this year. I would be surprised if there were any increases and wouldn’t be surprised if there were any decreases,” she said.

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