ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. — The Adams County Board of Commissioners is planning to bring forward a resolution to leave the Tri-County Health Department.
The board brought forward the resolution at their Oct. 26 public hearing and unanimously voted to withdraw from the TCHD.
Eva Henry, Adams County commissioner and board chair, said Douglas County’s decision to leave the TCHD “left us no choice but to reevaluate the future of public health services in Adams County.”
Adams County will remain a part of the TCHD through December 2022 due to legal obligation. By January 2023, the county will have its own health department in place, commissioners say.
The board said there will be no disruption of services to residents. The county will work with partners who rely on health department services to determine how to best move forward.
“During this transition, the focus will always remain the health and well-being of our residents,” Henry said. “This new structure gives us an opportunity to focus on the specific needs of our residents and invest dollars in the areas that need it most.”
The Douglas County Board of Commissioners formally voted to withdraw from the TCHD in early September following continued disagreements over mask mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions. The county has already taken steps to form its own health department, including forming a five-member board. TCHD will also continue to provide public health services for Douglas County through 2022.
The Arapahoe County Board of Commissioners provided a statement following the announcement:
”The Arapahoe County Board of Commissioners is saddened that our neighboring counties have chosen to end the productive 55-year partnership with the Tri-County Health Department. Arapahoe County residents will continue to receive all existing Tri-County public health services uninterrupted during the transition. We have already begun to explore future options to continue delivering quality public health services and will begin developing the necessary transition plans as we form our own public health department. The Board intends to do what it can to support the many dedicated employees of Tri-County Health throughout this process.”
The TCHD, which has served as the public health department for Adams County since 1948, said in a statement it was "disappointed and saddened" by the county's decision to withdraw, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We will continue to provide best in class accredited services to the residents of Adams County until the end of 2022," the statement says. "We will also work with Arapahoe County to develop a transition plan to assure continued delivery of high-quality services to our residents."
During the public hearing on Oct. 26, Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman testified against Adams County breaking away from the TCHD because Aurora is in all three counties the TCHD serves. He said the impact of Douglas County forming its own health department is smaller because it's a mostly residential part of Aurora, but the impact is greater for the part of Aurora in Adams County.
"The future of commercial and residential growth in Aurora is Adams County so their move will have a significant impact on our city," Coffman said in a statement on Twitter. "During the meeting, several of the commissioners acknowledged that the cost of setting up and operating an Adams County health department would be substantially more than they're spending."