On Tuesday, March 29, the Arapahoe County Board of Commissioners (Board) launched the next phase of planning for the County’s new public health department. This new department will serve as the County’s public health services provider effective Jan. 1, 2023. The new arrangement became necessary after Adams and Douglas counties exited the 55-year partnership with the Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) in 2021.
Among the actions the Board took at Tuesday’s study session were to affirm its intentions to establish a founding board of health that will be responsible for setting up basic operations in 2022 in preparation for the department’s launch. Specific members of this board will be announced at a later date.
The Board also confirmed that the Arapahoe County Public Health will be a department within the County, and in the coming months the Board will finalize anticipated staffing and funding allocations and begin securing the necessary vendors. The new department’s initial service categories will fall under:
- Consumer protection—inspections, emergency preparedness, communicable disease control
- Community health—nursing, nutrition, behavioral health
The Board also hosted a virtual town hall on Wednesday, March 30, where they fielded residents’ questions about the new public health department.
Tuesday’s study session featured a presentation by the Otowi Group, a Denver-based public health consultant, and an internal staff team that has been helping guide the Board through this process. The presentation recapped the work that has been completed over the past five months, including the many meetings the Board and County staff has held with subject matter experts from TCHD, the state health department, other local public health agencies and national consultants; gathering feedback from residents and community stakeholders; and assessing funding needs and priorities.
This process is unfolding on schedule, and TCHD will continue providing all public health services during this transition. Over the next quarter, the Board will gather more feedback from residents, businesses, and other partners to finalize plans around how best to provide consumer protection and support community health. “Our primary objective is to protect the health and safety of our residents, especially for our most vulnerable populations, including children,” said Arapahoe County Board Chair Nancy Jackson. “Our new health department will sustain our communities’ health and well-being, with a particular focus on meeting the needs of our tremendously diverse 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 County offers multiple opportunities and outlets for resident and stakeholder feedback and will provide updates as the County makes its decisions or reaches certain benchmarks. For more details about this week’s feedback opportunity and the health department creation process, visit arapahoegov.com/health.