In just under six months, Arapahoe County will have its own public health department to serve our 650,000 residents. The department will offer many programs and services that are currently provided by Tri-County Health Department. As we transition from the district model that serves Arapahoe, Adams and Douglas counties, we want to provide some information on how our single-county public health department will be funded.
Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties have each earmarked specific budgets to fund the Tri-County Health Department in a shared model. Each county’s share was based on population size. Budgeted dollars from the three counties were combined with additional federal money, grants and other monies to fund services provided by Tri-County Health. Arapahoe County also provided additional funds for programs solely for our residents. While Douglas County left Tri-County Health in 2021, Tri-County is continuing to provide public health services for their residents through 2022 via an intergovernmental agreement.
Beginning in 2023, Arapahoe County's general funds, previously allocated to Tri-County Health Department, will instead go to our single-county health department. But that’s just one piece of the funding puzzle.
Typically, about a quarter of the funding for a health department our size comes from local sources, like the County’s general funds and fees, according to the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). The remaining funding often comes from a wide variety of other sources, including the federal government, which contributes about 28 percent. Other sources include:
- State money: 22%
- Medicaid/Medicare: 9%
- Non-clinical fees and fines: 8%
- Private foundations: 2%
- All other sources: 7%
It is anticipated the Arapahoe County Health Department will be funded in a similar fashion.
Funding Decision Making
Arapahoe County is currently securing funding to provide our core public health services. We are exploring how grants will play a role in this funding, similar to what they have traditionally done for services provided in our county. However, without the purchasing power of a three-county health department, loss of some efficiencies must be taken into consideration. It is critical that Arapahoe County carefully evaluates how best to serve public health needs given the funding available.
To that end, the County plans to seat a Foundational Board of Health later this month that will be responsible for:
- Recommending a budget for the health department
- Entering into public health service contracts
- Appointing a public health director
- Securing employees and property
Residents can expect a careful and methodical process as we continue to analyze available funding versus anticipated costs.
More information is available online at www.arapahoegov.com/health.