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Response to Pierce County Council’s proposal to dissolve Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department

TACOMA, WASH.—Pierce County Council will consider a resolution that would terminate the Interlocal Agreement between the City of Tacoma and Pierce County establishing the joint Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, which has existed since 1972. The first hearing on this resolution is Dec. 7 with a planned final vote scheduled for Dec. 15.

“I was surprised to learn of this resolution,” said Director of Health Anthony L-T Chen, MD, MPH. “We are the City’s health department, we are the County’s health department, and we serve residents in all of our cities and towns. We are the reliable local source of public health information, data, services and policy,” he said.

As a joint City-County health department, the Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health includes Tacoma City Council members, Pierce County Council members, a representative from Pierce County cities and towns, and a representative from the Pierce County Medical Society. Learn more about our Board of Health.

City of Tacoma contributes $1.17 million in health pool funding to support programs such as communicable disease control, parent child family health, Family Support Centers, Black Infant Health and hazardous waste remediation.

“In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic our focus needs to remain on bringing the disease under control, and now, distributing vaccine to the community. As a small government agency, we are nimble and agile. We are a neutral convener, and, especially during COVID-19, we have worked quickly with many partners throughout the county to serve all residents of Pierce County. The Health Department needs to focus all of its attention on ending COVID-19 in Pierce County. Efforts that divide our attention from this critical public health response are an unfortunate distraction,” Chen said.

During the pandemic and for many years prior, our staff has worked tirelessly to protect and improve the health of all people and places in Pierce County. We are proud of our role as an independent, trusted, and neutral public health department. As a small government agency, the Health Department is focused on efficient response, rapid cycle improvement and innovation.

About Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s mission is to protect and improve the health of all people and places in Pierce County. As part of our mission, the Health Department tackles known and emerging health risks through policy, programs and treatment to protect public health. We are one of roughly 244 accredited health departments in the country and among six in the state to have met or exceeded the Public Health Accreditation Board’s quality standards. Learn more at www.tpchd.org.

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