Since this past fall, the Arapahoe County Board of Commissioners has been executing the complex process of creating a single-county public health department. This became necessary after Adams and Douglas counties exited our 55-year partnership with the Tri-County Health Department in 2021.
By state law, all Colorado counties must operate a public health department; Tri-County Health will continue to provide all public health services to Arapahoe County residents until a replacement is established, by no later than January 1, 2023.
Our primary objective is to protect the health and safety of our residents, especially for our most vulnerable populations, including children and older adults. Our new health department will sustain our communities’ health and well-being, with a particular focus on the tremendous diversity we have across the County. It will be datacentric and evidence based and will consider holistic and long-term financial implications for the County while striving for excellence and innovation in all the services we deliver.
The Otowi Group, a locally based consultant with extensive public health expertise, is helping guide us through this process, which has required the Board to meet frequently and collaborate with all stakeholders, including our residents. The Board is also examining public health models across Colorado and in other states to determine the best ways to meet our residents’ needs, set priorities and minimize disruptions during the transition.
The Board will share our conceptual recommendations at a public study session on Tuesday, March 29 and host a virtual town hall on the evening of Wednesday, March 30. These events will provide the latest updates on the process and give attendees the opportunity to ask questions and offer feedback. More information about our entire process is available at www.arapahoegov.com/Health.
We’ll continue sharing new details as they become available, and by the time we’re ready to unveil our plans in full later this year, all stakeholders’ considerations will have been weighed and appropriately prioritized. The ultimate decisions about our future public health operations will address the fiscal impact of providing these services while focusing on the best interests of the County’s overall health and safety.