Federal budget cuts could affect Oklahoma Health Department

Oklahoma Health Commissioner Terry Cline said at Tuesday's state Board of Health meeting that although nothing is official, he has been in discussion with federal leaders about potential budget cuts. The state Health Department could see up to a 10 percent reduction in federal money, he said.
BY JACLYN COSGROVE jcosgrove@opubco.com Published: July 11, 2012
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Although it's too soon to know the exact details, the state Health Department could see cuts in the amount of federal funding it gets during the next budget cycle, officials said Tuesday.

State Health Commissioner Terry Cline said at Tuesday's state Board of Health meeting that although nothing is official, he has been in discussion with federal leaders about potential budget cuts.

The state Health Department could see up to a 10 percent reduction in federal money, he said.

Congress and President Barack Obama agreed last summer to make at least $2.1 trillion in cuts to domestic spending over the next 10 years, but lawmakers have yet to specify how all of those reductions will be allocated among federal programs.

About 60 percent of the state Health Department's budget comes from federal money, meaning funding cuts could have a widespread impact.

“There is a great concern about the federal budget and potential for federal budget reductions going into this next year,” Cline said.

Also at Tuesday's meeting, Barry Smith, a state Health Board member and health care attorney, said he was concerned about the recent decrease in the number of Health Department auditors.

Smith said he found out at the Board of Health's finance subcommittee meeting Tuesday morning that the state Health Department has only six internal auditors.

Internal auditors at the department evaluate how federal and state money is spent, he said. This includes money related to federal contracts, county health departments and state Health Department programs, among other things, Smith said.

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There is a great concern about the federal budget and potential for federal budget reductions going into this next year.”

Terry Cline

State Health Commissioner

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