OSDH Explains Local Impact of Personnel Reductions
For Release: Dec. 20, 2017 – Jamie Dukes, Office of Communications (405) 271-5601
After announcing personnel reductions earlier this month, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is addressing options for meeting the needs of its clients across the state.
“While we recognize this is a difficult process for our employees, community health remains a priority for the OSDH,” said Interim Commissioner Preston Doerflinger. “During this time of broad change, we look forward to working with communities across Oklahoma to find unique and innovative ways to address public health topics. Public health delivery is not solely the responsibility of our state infrastructure, but through important collaborations and private partnerships we can continue to create a state of health.”
During the process of identifying positions for the Reduction In Force (RIF), staffing changes were assessed at the local level addressing the precise needs and positions for each county. There was not a one-size-fits-all approach. Agency leaders utilized a variety of data and input from regional administrators, budget staff and representatives of human resources to determine a staffing pattern for county health department sites. This data included statutory mandates, types of programs and services provided by the county, the number of patient visits and caseloads.
Tina Johnson, deputy commissioner of community and family health services, said communities will continue to have access to important public health programs and activities, but the method of how these services are delivered may look different.
“We will utilize relationships and resources across the state to help clients and ensure their needs are met,” said Johnson. ”The intent is to provide cost-effective and time-efficient services for both the clients and our staff. Some sites may need to provide appointment times instead of walk-in clinics. We are evaluating individual county concerns at this time, and will have a plan regarding clinic operational changes in the weeks to come.”
Scheduled appointments may provide clients with less wait time and the ability to adjust their personal schedules. Clinic schedules will also include more available appointment times to help meet the needs of the community. Additionally and as may be appropriate, a greater degree of collaboration with local resources to identify and address public health topics will have greater focus.
Doerflinger said the OSDH is working with other state agencies and the Oklahoma Public Employee Association (OPEA) to assist in placing employees affected by the RIF when possible.
Clients concerned about receiving services are encouraged to call their local county health department to inquire about any change of scheduling which may be taking place in the weeks ahead. For a complete list of county health department sites click here: chds.health.ok.gov