Douglas County will soon begin a community health assessment and a public health improvement plan as it presses forward with the possibility of splitting from the Tri-County Health Department.
The assessment and plan, which are a requirement for any public health department, are intended to help commissioners understand more about public health needs in the county before they officially decide if they will make a county-specific department.
Commissioners learned about these next steps and detailed information about Tri-County’s operations during a June 28 meeting with their local public health working group.
In February, commissioners formed the group — made up of county staff — to investigate the possibility of leaving Tri-County.
The county started considering forming a new public health department several months into the COVID-19 pandemic. Commissioners initially said they would leave this summer but after reaching an agreement with Tri-County that allowed for more local control in public health orders, they decided to stay until at least 2023.
If the county does choose to form its own health department, the statutorily required community health assessment and public health improvement plan will already be completed.