Douglas County commissioners on Tuesday signed an intergovernmental agreement that extends the county’s contract with the Tri-County Health Department until 2022.
The extension comes just weeks after commissioners voted to begin a process that would establish a local health service.
However, the county will still rely on Tri-County for basic services such as environmental health, women’s, infant and child health, disease control, vital records, and nursing services.
“This agreement benefits all parties, but primarily ensures that there are no gaps in services for residents of Douglas County,” said John Douglas, executive director of Tri-County. “This allows TCHD employees to focus on providing distraction-free service and provides some stability.”
The deal also guarantees that Douglas County will pay for its services until the end of 2022 and cover all costs associated with leaving the health service, according to a press release.
“We recognize that there are costs associated with leaving TCHD and this ensures that each party pays their fair share,” the Douglas County Council of Commissioners said in the statement.
“We also recognize that TCHD is a leader in public health services and we want to ensure that residents of Douglas County continue to benefit from excellent public health services in the future.”
Douglas County contributes $ 2.5 million annually to ensure that its approximately 358,000 residents receive services from 60 programs. It is about $ 7.10 per capita.
The agreement allows Douglas County to dictate public health policy for the County and Tri-County to operate independently without direction from the Douglas County Board of Health.
County commissioners voted on Sept. 7 to leave the Tri-County Health Department and create their own after the Department of Health rolled out another order of masks for children under 18 indoors, including in schools and daycares.
The Department of Health also voted to remove the “waiver” provision negotiated by Douglas County after the first time it attempted to leave when Tri-County issued a wide mask order. county in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic raged.
Two weeks ago, the commissioners appointed five people to the board of health of the still-formed Douglas County Health Department, including two commissioners – Lora Thomas and George Teal – with no previous medical or nursing experience. health.