Health Department Q&As

Why is Arapahoe County leaving the Tri-County Health Department?

The Public Health Act of 2008 established a uniform public health system in Colorado and requires that each Colorado county establish a public health agency. Colorado statute specifies when an entity can withdraw from a public health agency and the subsequent creation or inclusion of another health agency. Following the decisions in 2021 by both Douglas and Adams counties to leave the Tri-County Health Department (TCHD), Arapahoe County must now establish its own health department, as TCHD will no longer exist in its current district public health agency form.

How much will a health department cost and how will it be funded?

Tri-County Health Department currently receives an equal per-capita funding amount from each County partner; Arapahoe County’s share is currently about $5.2 million. TCHD receives funding from the federal and state government as well as third-party grants.

While a deeper assessment of necessary funding is still being determined, the County has received estimates of public health funds from other sources that could come to the County through a new health department. As the County looks at how to set up a new department and pay for these services, more analysis is required to determine if additional funding will be needed. The County also recognizes there will be one-time costs associated with transition, which will need to come from the County’s general fund.

What is Tri-County Health Department’s role?

Arapahoe County residents will continue to receive all public health services from TCHD through the end of 2022. Commissioners will work with the agency as we navigate the process over the coming months. TCHD and its employees provide valuable resources, experience and expertise, and the County hopes to work closely with them as we find a way to move forward that is in the best interest of our residents, businesses and employees.

How will public health services be provided beginning in 2022?

The County plans to evaluate how to best deliver public health services, recognizing that the needs of a single-county health department may be different than those of a multi-county department. To that end, in the first quarter 2022, the County will evaluate how to best provide public health services to residents and businesses. That may include utilizing existing staff or partnering with other entities. As part of that process, the County will strengthen its understanding of existing programs and services and legal and reporting requirements.

The County will engage with members of the public and partner organizations to ensure that the needs of the community continue to be met, and to fine-tune services offered.

What happens after Dec. 31, 2022?

The relationships between Adams and Douglas counties and TCHD will formally end on Dec. 31, 2022. Arapahoe County must have a health department in place by Jan. 1, 2023.

Will there be a new Board of Health?

Yes. Health departments are required to have a board of health with at least five members to oversee operations. No final decisions have been made on the structure of the board. A new health department must have a public health director, who is selected by the board of health. If that director is not a physician, there must also be a medical officer.

Will there be COVID-related public health orders from Arapahoe County?

TCHD is still Arapahoe County’s public health agency and will continue to provide health department services through Dec. 31, 2022. Please continue to refer to Tri-County Health Department for information, including public health orders, related to COVID.