Allegheny Health Department chief executive officer Scott Brown said Wednesday that he would leave his post in the next month to take a job with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Brown, who is a graduate of the University, is also a graduate assistant professor in the department of public health at the University.
Brown is also serving as executive director of the Allegheny River Water Management District, a partnership between the county and the city of Pittsburgh to manage and restore the river.
Brown will take the job as a part-time director.
Brown said in a statement that he is committed to the work of the county health department and has a deep appreciation for the work it does.
Brown’s move comes as Allegheny officials seek to overhaul the health department amid the opioid epidemic and a state audit found that it has a culture of corruption and mismanagement.
The auditor said health officials ignored warnings from the county’s health department about a potential outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease and that they did not perform proper inspections of county buildings.
A few months ago, the county hired an outside firm to conduct an internal audit of the health system, but the audit showed a culture in which health officials failed to take proper steps to detect and respond to an outbreak of the potentially deadly coronavirus, according to a report by the audit firm KPMG.
In February, the health agency suspended the work contract with the consulting firm, which provided expert advice on how to tackle the spread of the virus.
The health agency also asked for help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health and Human Services and the U,S.
Food and Drug Administration to help manage the outbreak, according.
“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to lead an agency that is so much bigger than me,” Brown said.
Brown has also been the subject of scrutiny since the auditors reported that the county was paying Brown, his wife and two children for his services at the county-owned Allegheny Hospital.
The county also paid for an Allegheny Public Library computer system and for a mobile app that was developed for the health care department, but Brown said that the payments were not for work done directly with the health departments.
“We did not do anything for the county to help us, but for our help we are being paid by the county,” Brown told reporters Wednesday.
Brown did not respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press.
Brown served as the health chief in Allegheny for 13 years before taking the job.
The city’s budget for health care was $4.6 billion in fiscal year 2018, according the Alleghenys website.
That is a $400 million drop from fiscal year 2017, when the county had about $6.7 billion in health spending.
It is not clear how many Allegheny residents would be affected by Brown’s departure.
Allegheny Mayor James F. Farrow said in an emailed statement that the city will continue to support Brown, whose contract was up at the end of 2018, but he also urged people to stay vigilant about the virus and report any symptoms to health departments and their offices.
Brown told the AP that he did not believe he needed to take on a new role because he is a long-time trusted employee.
“It is not like I am taking a position, or trying to get rid of someone,” Brown added.
“This is just my job.
It’s a full-time position.
I am doing the best I can.
I’m proud of my job and I appreciate the work.”
Allegheny health officials are investigating whether a county worker who helped treat a patient who contracted the coronaviruses could be criminally charged.
The Health Department has received complaints from people who had to take antibiotics for the virus, but officials did not know whether anyone was infected.
Brown and other health officials have acknowledged that the County Medical Examiner’s Office should have tested more patients to be sure the coronvirus was not spread to anyone.
The coroner’s office has recommended the county use a different protocol, but there is no deadline for that to be followed.