In late 2021, Arapahoe County began moving forward with the planning of a new single-county public health department. Since then, the County has begun exploring all options for delivering public health services and developing the necessary transition plans to a new model in January 2023. While this work has just begun, there are a few things you should know about the process:
- There will be no gaps in service. By law, all Colorado counties must have a public health entity in place at all times. The Tri-County Health Department will continue serving Arapahoe County residents through the end of 2022 with no-cost cancer screenings, overdose prevention, free nurse visits, restaurant and childcare facility inspections, and more as they have over our long and productive relationship. The new single-county health department will be in place by Jan. 1, 2023.
- All options are on the table. Arapahoe County has hired a consultant to guide education and decision-making efforts around the formation of a single-county health department. With their help, the County’s core project team will take a deep dive into the services that a health department is legally required to provide and how to prioritize services based on budgetary limitations. Among the options we are considering is potentially receiving health services from a “reimagined” Tri-County Health, guided by a new single-county governance model, beginning in 2023.
- There will be a new board of health. Colorado law specifies that a health department must be overseen by a board of health. That board must have at least five members and will select a public health director. The director is not required to be a physician and if he or she is not, then there must also be a medical officer to serve the health department. The Board of County Commissioners is tasked with determining the structure of the health department. While no decisions have been made yet, it’s anticipated that work will occur in the first half of 2022.
- There will be public input opportunities. The County is currently developing mechanisms for residents and other stakeholders to provide feedback on prioritizing health department programs. Stay tuned and we’ll share more on our website, social media, and other channels as those opportunities are developed.
- You can stay engaged and in the know. Commissioners are currently meeting weekly with the consultant to build a stronger understanding of public health services and determine how best to provide those services. These business meetings are for Commissioner education and do not include time for public comment and no votes or official actions are taken. The meetings are live-streamed and accessible online. Votes and decision-making related to the health department will take place during Commissioner Business Meetings, which members of the public may attend in-person or stream online. Agendas and recordings are also available on the same site.
Visit www.arapahoegov.com/health for more information, get answers to some common questions, and sign up for updates.