La Plata County Public Health

Under Colorado law, each county must have its own local public health agency or participate in a district public health agency.  La Plata County and Archuleta County are currently participating in a district public health agency known as San Juan Basin Public Health ("SJBPH").  

At a meeting scheduled on April 28, 2022, the San Juan Basin Board of Health made a recommendation to dissolve the Public Health District.  In a June 7, 2022 work session, The SJBPH board members acknowledged that both counties may identify different priorities and that there are philosophical differences in the way that the two counties view the regulatory role of public health and the services that should be delivered.   

Upon receipt of the recommendation,  La Plata County staff undertook an initial review of the opportunities and challenges presented by the dissolution of SJBPH and presented a detailed staff report on August 23, 2022.  Staff anticipated that the differing approaches sought by La Plata and Archuleta were not likely to diminish because La Plata County's population is growing and the public is increasingly demanding accountability and local control of public health.  The La Plata County Commissioners gave direction to pursue the recommendations of the Board of Health, including negotiations with Archuleta County and SJBPH to effectuate SJBPH’s recommendation for their orderly dissolution and resulting transition to two separate single county health departments.  

On November 9, 2022, La Plata County and Archuleta County Boards of County Commissioners approved a resolution establishing a planned and orderly dissolution of the San Juan Basin Public Health District by December 31, 2023.  La Plata County is working to establish our own public health department and appoint members to a new La Plata County Board of Health.

On January 24, 2023, the La Plata County Board of County Commissioners approved the resolution creating the La Plata County Board of Health  and appointed the inaugural La Plata County Board of Health members.

Organizational actions for the establishment of La Plata County Public Health Department by December 31, 2023 are outlined in this draft transition overview.