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Local & Regional

Oklahoma Health Department to Lay Off Nearly 200 Employees

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The Oklahoma State Department of Health says nearly 200 employees will be laid off to reduce costs.

Friday's announcement comes just more than one month after health Commissioner Terry Cline and other officials resigned amid allegations of financial mismanagement.

State finance secretary Preston Doerflinger was named interim commissioner and has said spending problems go back more than five years. The department is under investigation by the state auditor and a state House committee.

The department will eliminate 37 positions immediately and 161 more being cut in March. Those losing their jobs now include nurses and local emergency response coordinators. They will receive a severance package and job placement assistance.

The department estimated in October that 250 would lose jobs, but a department spokesman said Friday that number was reduced through resignations and retirements.