The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is completing a Reduction-In-Force (RIF) plan, first announced on December 8, 2017, that will change how services are delivered in county health departments across the state.

At total of 150 classified positions will be eliminated from the agency as of the close of business on Friday, March 2. The total number of positions affected differs from the announced RIF plan in December 2017 due to resignations and retirements that have occurred after the original plan was issued.

As part of the staff reductions, reassignments have been made that are critical to maintain operations at some county health department locations. The moves will insure that those county health departments will be able to provide clinic services while reducing the cost of their operations. There will be no closures of any county health departments.

The plan being implemented provides for at least one Registered Nurse (RN II) and one Administrative Tech (Admin Tech III) in all 68 OSDH county health department locations.

“It is important that we maintain minimum staffing patterns in every current county health department clinic so that services can continue to be provided during the worst flu season in recent history,” said Brenda Potts, Regional Administrative Director for Pottawatomie County Health Department. “The change in distribution of personnel will also make it possible to continue other vital services in all our county health departments.”

The elimination of positions is part of a continuing effort to reduce agency costs and meet ongoing financial obligations. All employees whose service is ending Friday, March 2 will be entitled to 18 months of paid employee-only insurance premiums calculated at the 2018 rate, as well as longevity payment for next anniversary date and their annual leave balance. In addition, job placement assistance will be provided by the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development.

Combined with a previous RIF affecting 37 unclassified positions in December, the total overall cost is $3 million dollars, which includes FICA, unemployment benefits and the payment of accrued annual leave. The elimination of these positions will result in an annual savings of approximately $10.5 million dollars, minus the RIF costs the first year.