San Juan Basin Health Department is facing reorganization under a bill passed last year by the Colorado Legislature.The bill, the Public Health Reorganization Act, is aimed at streamlining and improving the effectiveness of public-health agencies across the state. It requires counties to take a fresh look at their agencies and make decisions about how to structure them in the future.
At a meeting Monday, La Plata County staff members recommended to a joint meeting between commissioners from La Plata County and Archuleta County, which also receives services from San Juan Basin Health Department, that the agency be retained, but with a reconstituted board of directors.
Staff members did not support another option, among those available under the law, of dissolving the joint agency and leaving each county to form its own department.
La Plata County staff members recommended the new board consist of each of the counties' commissioners - six altogether - and one at-large member. Currently, the board is appointed by commissioners. Though La Plata County Commissioner Joelle Riddle is among the current board's members, others are not elected officials.
Once the new board is in place, additional organizational personnel will be selected, including a director for the department. Lynn Westberg is San Juan Basin Health's current director.
"There's lots of details to be worked out," said County Attorney Sheryl Rogers, who made the presentation.
Public-health departments focus on communitywide health issues, such as communicable diseases and emergency preparedness, as opposed to the individual medical care that is provided in doctor's offices and clinics.
Commissioners are scheduled to hear another presentation and possibly take action on the proposal at a meeting to be held 1:30 p.m. April 8 at the County Courthouse.
Monday's presentation can be found under "publications" on the county's Web site, http://co.laplata.co.us Comments can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com