Residents group proposes independent board of health for Grand County


A bunch of residents need Grand County commissioners to think about establishing an impartial board of well being.

Following a yr through which public well being was on the forefront, a proposal by the Engaged Residents for a More healthy Grand County goals to create a board of well being separate from the commissioners, who at present function the county’s board of well being.

Due to Grand’s small inhabitants, county commissioners are allowed to nominate themselves because the board of well being. Nonetheless, state regulation permits the county to nominate an impartial board of well being if commissioners so need it.

Representing the group, John Riedel pitched the concept at Tuesday’s fee assembly throughout public feedback. For causes, he cited the general public well being impacts Grand has confronted prior to now yr, together with the COVID-19 pandemic and East Troublesome Hearth, together with the rising complexities of public well being coverage on high of the county’s swelling inhabitants.

“An impartial board would assist meet the calls for of a rising Grand County,” Riedel stated.

In line with Colorado Statute, the board of well being selects and advises the general public well being director, approves the native five-year well being plan, helps develop insurance policies for public well being, and manages monetary oversight for the well being division.

If the county have been to create an impartial board of well being, commissioners would appoint the members to the board. Riedel steered the group be made up of 5 to seven members, the vast majority of whom could be required to have skilled experience in public well being areas.

The group, which shaped a number of months in the past, highlighted its in depth analysis into attainable approaches for an impartial board of well being. They performed a lot of interviews with well being division administrators in small counties that selected to have their very own impartial boards of well being.

“We heard persistently that this method to public well being management is sort of efficient,” the proposal learn.

The group argued that the county could be higher served by a well being board centered totally on public well being, moderately than managed by commissioners, who should deal with a plurality of points in Grand.

“Public well being is a posh subject and the BOCC merely doesn’t have the time to focus completely on public well being points,” the proposal added.

The group asserted that there’s ample curiosity from group members to serve on an impartial board to proceed addressing public well being points past the pandemic. The proposal lists 13 group members placing forth this proposal, with most holding levels in health-related fields.

“Many extremely educated Grand County residents are retired and on the lookout for methods to contribute to our fantastic county,” the proposal stated. “… This proposed board of well being would promote providers which can be science-based but in addition in line with our Grand County tradition.”

Of Colorado’s 64 counties, 26 have commissioners who serve on well being boards, which led to some controversy because the pandemic grew political by the final yr. Earlier this yr, Home Invoice 21-1115 proposed eradicating commissioners’ capacity to concurrently serve on public well being boards.

Grand County commissioners beforehand expressed opposition to such a transfer, citing the county’s small inhabitants. Together with Grand, a lot of different rural counties pushed again towards the measure.

The invoice has since been scaled again to nonetheless enable commissioners to serve on well being boards. As an alternative, it requires anybody serving on the general public well being board to take an annual coaching.

The Engaged Residents for a More healthy Grand County additionally proposed that members obtain related coaching and be formally licensed. The group argued that this proposal for an impartial board of well being would higher serve Grand as a complete.

“We predict there’s nice potential for this to make our county higher,” Riedel stated.

The commissioners didn’t touch upon the proposal Tuesday however plan to schedule a workshop to additional focus on the concept.


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