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Ex Employee Sues Health Department and Director

By Kelley Weiss

Kansas City – The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services director has stepped down in the midst of an internal audit into the use of federal grant money. State officials say the director's resignation is not related to the audit or a former employee's lawsuit of the health department. KCUR's Kelley Weiss reports.

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Julie Eckstein resigned as director of the state health department earlier this week saying she wanted to pursue other opportunities. Right now the department is doing an internal investigation into how the information technology division has used federal grant money. And, a former employee is suing the health department and Eckstein. The employee says she was unfairly fired in July because she contacted the auditor about the department's alleged misuse of money.

But, Nancy Gonder, public information officer for the health department, says Eckstein did not step down because of the lawsuit.

Nancy Gonder: "Julie Eckstein's resignation had absolutely nothing to do with this review of our IT section or anything related to that."

Gonder says results from a smaller-scale audit into the use of grant money were released in October and the larger audit is still underway. Gonder could not comment on the former employee's lawsuit.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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