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Tri-County Health Department set to completely dissolve on Dec. 31

Posted at 3:12 PM, Dec 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-27 17:12:29-05

The Tri-County Health Department will completely dissolve on Dec. 31 and in the new year, residents can seek public health services through the individual health departments for Arapahoe, Adams and Douglas counties.

The health department, called TCHD for short, opened on Jan. 1, 1948 and will close one day short of its 75th birthday.

It was created as a joint operation for the three counties.

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In September 2021, Douglas County left the health department over COVID-related public health orders and measures. It opted to create its own, with far fewer restrictions involving masks and other mitigation measures. TCHD still provided some public health services for Douglas County through 2022.

The commissioners' move to leave TCHD came after the agency’s Board of Health voted the previous month to require masks for everyone 2 years old and up in indoor school and child care settings, and rescind the ability for individual counties to opt out of the public health order.

The following month, on Oct. 26, 2021, Adams County left the health department, citing Douglas County's move among its reasons. The county said it would stay with TCHD through December 2022 while it worked to put up its own health department.

At the time, 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.”

Arapahoe County became the third and final county to leave the TCHD in December 2021. Arapahoe County commissioners voted to move forward with the plan to leave the health department after a meeting and public comment. Like Adams County, it stayed in partnership with TCHD through the end of 2022 so it would have time to set up its own department.

After the vote, Arapahoe County Commission Board Chair Nancy Jackson said the TCHD had “first-class health programs and services” and the county was indebted to the health department.

As TCHD's existence comes to an end, its Executive Director Dr. John Douglas said leading the department allowed him to work with many talented colleagues.

"It also allowed me to work on an amazing array of issues important to the health of our residents," he said. “What an extraordinary span of time that three-quarters of a century has been for our nation, the world, and the discipline of public health."

Below are the links and phone numbers for the three new county health departments: