After Douglas County announced that it plans to form its own health department, Arapahoe County confirmed that it and Adams County have also been contemplating splitting away from Tri-County Health Department.
The split is being driven by Douglas County’s intention to leave the three-county health agency.
By October, both the Arapahoe and the Adams county commissioners will be provided with findings from a transition team to inform a decision on a new structure for public health services, according to a statement from Arapahoe County.
Consultants are examining the scenarios of a two-county health agency or creating single-county health departments, said Luc Hatlestad, spokesperson for Arapahoe County.
“We set this up in the spring (or) summer,” Hatlestad said, adding that the study was initiated once it became clear that Douglas wasn’t going to stick with Tri-County Health.
Douglas County’s consideration of leaving the agency came amid a rift with Tri-County Health over the agency’s pandemic policies.
The tension led up to the Douglas County commissioners’ unanimous vote to notify Tri-County Health that the county will form its own health department and board of health, which will end its 55-year connection with Tri-County.
That Sept. 1 move this year came just a couple days after Tri-County Health’s board voted to no longer allow counties to opt out of public health orders and approved a mask mandate for all students and staff in pre-K through 12 school settings.
Tri-County Health has been working with Adams and Arapahoe counties over the past several months to develop a transition plan, a statement from Hatlestad said. Since the process began, Adams and Arapahoe started to include the possibility of single-county public health agencies in the process.
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