Aspen and Pitkin County boards of health to combine into one
September 19, 2013
The city of Aspen and Pitkin County boards of health soon will become one, with the purpose of creating a more efficient process, clearer top-down direction and standardized health care offerings throughout the city and county.
The Aspen City Council and the Pitkin County commissioners gave unanimous support for the recommendation at Tuesday's joint work session.
"It's an opportunity to reduce redundancy, create a better chain of command and to capture our resources more efficiently," Mayor Steve Skadron said.
The current system is unique in Colorado in the fact that there are two separate health organizations within a county, as well as a private nonprofit that provides health services. State agencies have urged the restructuring efforts.
C.J. Oliver, Aspen's public health director, said the consolidated system will speed up response time in cases of natural disasters, it will clarify the blurred lines of accountability and responsibility, and it will simplify direction of public health services.
Potential cons of the new system, according to the memo, are a loss of political control for Aspen, fiscal confusion between Aspen and Pitkin County and governance issues.
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Skadron said improvement of chain of command is important for him because "at some point, someday, there is going to be an emergency and things needs to happen really efficiently."
Officials from Pitkin County — with representation from Aspen and Snowmass — will make up the new board of health.
The Pitkin County commissioners will appoint the board within 90 days of adopting the resolution, with existing board members eligible for reappointment. The appointed board will elect a president. The director of the agency, at the discretion of the board, may serve as secretary of the board but is not a member of the board.