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Oklahoma Department of Health Plans Cuts Due to Budget Hole

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Department of Health is recommending closing seven county health departments, eliminating some programs and offering early retirement to cut spending amid a state budget crisis.

Health Department officials presented a budget reduction plan to the State Board of Health Tuesday. A total of $4.2 million must be cut from the agency's budget by the end of June due to a revenue failure in the current state budget. Additional cuts are required because of an estimated $1.3 billion hole in the budget for next year.

Health board president Dr. Ronald Woodson says the agency will continue to deliver the highest level of public service possible. But Woodson says the budget cuts will have consequences in preventive services including increased disease, avoidable treatment costs and an increased risk of death.