Arapahoe County commissioners vote to leave Tri-County Health

The county may continue to receive services from the agency

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The final member of the Tri-County Health Department (TCHD), Arapahoe County, voted today to leave the agency at the end of 2022. 

This vote follows earlier decisions by Douglas and Adams counties to withdrawal. 

“County residents will continue to receive all public health services from TCHD until a replacement health department and new board of health is approved and established,” according to Arapahoe County press release. 

The county may continue to receive services from the agency after leaving but for now will move forward with forming a single-county health department, according to the resolution and a press release. 

The series of withdrawals began with the Douglas County commissioners, who decided to immediately leave the health agency in September after months of disagreements over COVID-19 protection measures. Douglas County formed its own health department and that new board decided to continue contracting most public health services from Tri-County until at least the end of next year.

Adams County commissioners in October voted to notify Tri-County it would withdraw as well, effective at the end of 2022.

These decisions by Adams and Douglas counties made it “necessary for Arapahoe County to explore its future options and develop a transition plan to form its own single-county public health department,” according to the news release.

Arapahoe County has been considering this move for a few months.

Arapahoe County’s resolution to withdraw was approved as part of the consent agenda during the Dec. 14 meeting.

Until the new health department is formed, Tri-County maintains the ability to issue public health orders such as mask mandates, according to the release.

In a statement included in the press release, Nancy Jackson, the chair of the board, praised Tri-County for their work in providing public health services over the years.

“They are a first-rate example of how public health services should be modeled and we will continue to work with them over the coming months to find a workable solution for all involved parties and stakeholders,” according to the release.

In the past, a county spokesman has said the county's separation from Tri-County isn't driven by any policy disagreement with the agency, but rather by potential financial or budgetary problems.

Arapahoe County has been a part of the agency since its founding in 1948.

Reporter Ellis Arnold contributed to this story.

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