The Office of the Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector released its audit of the Oklahoma State Department of Health on Wednesday. The audit took place from September 1st2019 to February 28and, 2021 and reviewed the department’s expenditures during this period. The report is divided into three sections and is discussed below:
The first part talks about the $5.4 million that the State of Oklahoma paid for personal protective equipment, but which was not received. The audit revealed in part that OSDH did not have a comprehensive emergency procurement policy or procedure in place prior to the COVID-19 emergency, significantly increasing the risk of fraud, waste and loss of state funds.
The second section discusses Oklahoma purchasing laws and the purchasing process. In this part of the audit, they report that the OSDH experienced many personnel changes within the administrative and financial divisions during the audit period. He goes on to say that due to the significant changes, some people may not have been familiar with the procurement laws.
The final part of the audit looked at salaries, specifically that of former OSDH commissioner Gary Cox, whose salary fell from $215,000 to just over $335,000 on January 1.st2021. This salary exceeded the maximum state wage allowance of $322,782.
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt recently released the following statement regarding the audit:
“To keep hospitals open and the safety of our frontline workers, I have issued executive orders to get PPE to our state as quickly as possible. Looking back today, we can recognize that there were technical errors while knowing that we did everything we could to protect the citizens of this state for an unimaginable time.