Adams County will leave the Tri-County Health Department, leaving Arapahoe County as its sole member

Pump Jacks On The Plains In Adams County
Hart Van Denburg/Colorado Public Radio
Pump jacks on the plains in Adams County, north of Denver International Airport, Friday, April 17, 2020.

The Tri-County Health Department will soon be a single county health department, as Adams County joined Douglas County Tuesday by announcing plans to split from the long-standing public health agency. 

A new health department for Adams County residents will open in January 2023. The county will remain part of the Tri-County group through December 2022 to ensure a smooth transition. 

Adams County commissioners said Douglas County’s decision to leave Tri-County Health motivated their exit. DougCo officials have been at odds with the health department throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly over school mask mandates. They voted to leave in September.

“Douglas County’s decisions left us no choice but to reevaluate the future of public health services in Adams County,” said Adams County Commissioner Eva Henry. “As a result, Adams County must determine the best option to move ahead for a health board and services provided to residents.”

Adams County’s decision means Arapahoe County will be the sole member of Tri-County Health, leaving its future unknown. In a short statement, the county said it has begun to explore new options for its public health services. 

The departures of Adams and Douglas will be a major blow to the Tri-County budget. Combined, the two counties contributed about $6.3 million to the collective. Proponents of the service say setting up independent health departments will be expensive, as splitting costs between counties drove prices to residents down.