The San Juan Basin Public Health Department held its final meeting after 75 years of serving La Plata and Archuleta counties. Public services will transition to county-run departments on January 2nd, 2024. Both counties are prepared for potential hiccups during the transition.



“I hereby adjourn this final meeting of San Juan Basin Public Health.”

After 75 years of serving both La Plata and Archuleta counties, the San Juan Basin Public Health Department’s board of health held their final meeting on Thursday. Brian Devine is the interim executive director for the health department. He says a number of programs will see their last days to tomorrow, and starting next week, things will look a lot different.

“Our end of service dates, though, really are reflective of the public facing services. So with many of our services that you’re saying on site for a program tomorrow, and that’s the last time to do that, you still have a lot of documentation and wrap up to do. So, it doesn’t even Monday, those programs don’t entirely switch over to truly end of year, but our public services will start to look a little bit different.”

There are only eight business days left of the organization before both counties begin servicing their own health departments. La Plata County Commissioner Marsha Porter-Norton, who also serves as a representative on the San Juan Basin Public Health Department board, says the county is prepared for any hiccups that might come with starting a new health department.

“We don’t think at this point there’s any fatal, know, there’s been so much planning, collaborative planning, planning with the receiver, planning, planning, planning, planning, list after list, after list, so we don’t think there’s a fatal flaw there, we know there could be some glitches, and we’re going to work through those and approach those the best we can.”

Despite nearly three years of tumultuous meetings between the two counties, mostly over COVID-19 restrictions during the pandemic, Archuleta County Commissioner Warren Brown feels that the dissolution has been a unifying experience.

“The history between the counties and San Jones Basin Health that this could be the opportunity to bring us together as well,  and although we’re going our separate public health departments, I think that we are closer now and have a better relationship today than we did in January.”

While there are still many logistical and legal loose ends to tie up as San Juan Basin Public Health Department officially dissolves, La Plata and Archuleta counties will begin serving their residents on January 2 of 2024.