With that in mind, some might ask, “Why is a health department needed in Douglas County?”
Colorado’s Core Public Health Services Requirements
In 2008, the Colorado Public Health Act required the State Board of Health 1) to establish, by rule, core public health services that each county and district public health agency must provide or ensure; and 2) to establish minimum quality standards for those public health services. Effective Jan. 1, 2020, state and local health departments in Colorado are required to ensure the provision of seven Foundational Capabilities and five Foundational Services
In addition to the baseline, required services, a county may also consider additional services based on the unique public health needs of its community.
As such, in 2021, a public process, led by Douglas County and a team of public health experts, identified the unique public health needs of our communities through the implementation of a Community Health Assessment and a Public Health Improvement Plan, both requirements of state law for all public health agencies.
The public process revealed what our communities believe are the top three public health issues:
- Behavioral Health – includes mental health and substance use
- Injury Prevention
- Disease Management and Prevention — addressing behaviors that lead to chronic diseases
Governed by a Board of Health, your Health Department is providing services in sync with the unique needs of Douglas County.
Your new 21st Century Douglas County Health Department aims to do our part to sustain healthy Douglas County communities while encouraging you to take a proactive role in managing your own health. We are dedicated to keeping you informed to help you make informed decisions toward healthier lives, through collaborative partnerships and actions to affect upstream determinants of health.
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Funding the Health Department
The Board of Health and the Board of Douglas County Commissioners committed that the General Fund cost to operate the new health department would not exceed the County’s most recent share as part of Tri-County Health, or $2.5 million – the per capita cost for Douglas County served by Tri-County Health in 2022. The 2023 Health Department Budget is $7.4 million, funding by $4.5 million in state and federal grant programs, $900,000 from services fees, and $2 million in taxpayer dollars from the General Fund, approximately $700,000 less than previously contributed to Tri-County annually. View the Health Department Budget Facts.
History of Public Health Services Delivery in Douglas County
On Jan. 1, 1966, following the South Platte River Floods of 1965, Douglas County joined the Tri-County District Health Department, providing Douglas County residents and businesses with requisite public health services. On Sept. 14, 2021, Douglas County separated from Tri-County Health Department to form its own local public health department with an Intergovernmental Agreement for Tri-County Health Department to continue providing some public health services through the end of 2022. Douglas County is now independent from Tri-County Health Department, with its own local health department.