Douglas County Commissioners and Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) signed an Intergovernmental Agreement Sept. 28 for TCHD to continue providing public health services through the end of 2022.
The agreement comes after Douglas County decided to leave the TCHD to form its own health department. Douglas County still needs the core services TCHD provides to continue until the new health department can provide those services; Douglas may also elect to continue to receive some of its public health services from TCHD going forward.
“This benefits all parties, but mainly ensures there is no gap in services for the residents of Douglas County,” said Dr. John Douglas, Tri-County Health Department executive director. “It also allows TCHD employees to focus on service delivery without distraction and provides some stability.”
TCHD will continue providing core public services such as environmental health, which includes inspections, consumer protections and hazardous materials; WIC, which provides food and healthcare safeguards for low-income women and children; and disease control and investigations, vital records, and nursing services such as sexual health and immunizations; and more. The agreement also ensures that Douglas County will pay for services in 2022 and will cover any costs associated with leaving TCHD.
Arapahoe and Adams counties are currently exploring alternatives to the existing three-county arrangement with TCHD. A consultant hired by these counties will present an updated report to the Arapahoe and Adams boards in mid-October. Arapahoe County has taken the necessary steps to ensure that there will be no gap in services during any eventual transition, nor any undue costs incurred by its residents.
This agreement allows Douglas County to control its own public health policy and for TCHD to operate autonomously without direction from the Douglas County Board of Health. At the signing of this agreement, Douglas County will no longer have any seats on the TCHD Board of Health, but Arapahoe and Adams counties will each retain their three seats.