Skagit County Board of Health
Report: Skagit County Public Health staff
On December 10, 2019, Skagit County Ordinance O20190008 was signed, expanding the size and composition of the Skagit County Board of Health (“BOH”) to five members. Prior to this, the BOH was comprised of a three-member board including the three elected Skagit County Commissioners.
The Board of County Commissioners' decision to expand the BOH was made due to the increasingly complex public health issues facing Skagit County and the County' s commitment to find solutions to improve the overall health of the community. Skagit County Public Health recommended additional health care and/or public health expertise and experience to the Board of Health to evaluate and develop public health polices and strategies to support a healthy community. Two at-large members, Dr. Connie Davis and Mr. Aaron Katz, were appointed to the Board of Health in 2020.
During the 2021 legislative session, the State enacted HB 1152 which required the expansion of local boards of health to include membership from individuals representing specific categories, effective July 1, 2022, unless a board of health had previously established a community public health advisory board by January 1, 2021.
In Skagit County, the Population Health Trust (“Trust”) has served as the community health advisory board since 2015. Because Skagit County wishes to continue to use the Trust as the advising entity to the BOH, the Board must be limited to elected officials beginning July 1, 2022. To prepare for the state’s deadline, the appointments of the Board’s at-large members were rescinded following the signing of Resolution R20220045 on March 7, 2022.
The Board of County Commissioners is scheduled to consider adoption of an ordinance to retract the size and composition of the Board of Health and rescind Skagit County Ordinance 020190008. This review will take place at a Public Hearing in the Commissioners Hearing Room, County Administration Building, 1800 Continental Place in Mount Vernon, WA on May 10, 2022, at 9:30 am. For information about submitting public comment, see below under “Implementation and Timeline.”
Findings and Conclusions
The Population Health Trust has served as the community health advisory board for Skagit County’s Board of Health since 2015, and coincidentally served as one of the models the state used when establishing the criteria for public health advisory committees detailed in HB 1152.
The Trust is composed of a broad and diverse spectrum of community leaders who have the commitment, capacity, vision, and knowledge to establish and implement a common agenda in support of community health. The Trust advisory board members are dedicated to finding common policy and program solutions.
In 2016, the Trust completed its first Community Health Assessment (CHA), working under the Robert Wood Johnson model and using a collective impact approach. This document paved the way and provided guidance for the County’s ongoing work with opioids (including the Secure Medicine Return Program and Opioid as a Notifiable Condition), housing, behavioral health, prevention and environmental health policy work, and the First Thousand Days plan for Skagit County families.
The Trust’s most recent CHA was published in late 2021 with a comprehensive COVID Recovery Plan that followed in early 2022. The aim of these documents is to provide clear guidance as the County grapples with the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The proposed revised Skagit County Code Chapter 12.01 will enable the Trust to continue its good work in further evaluating and developing effective public health policies and strategies, thus fostering a healthier Skagit.
Overview of Proposed Ordinance
The revised Chapter 12.01 will retract the size and composition of the Board of Health and rescind Skagit County Ordinance 020190008, which had previously allowed for the expanding of the Board of Health to include two at-large members. Adoption of the proposed ordinance would align Skagit County with the new requirements of State HB 1152 which required the expansion of local boards of health to include membership from individuals representing specific categories effective July 1, 2022, unless the board of health had established a community public health advisory board by January 1, 2022.
A copy of the ordinance can be found here or requested by emailing Health@co.skagit.wa.us or calling (360) 416-1500.
Implementation and Timeline
The Skagit County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing in the Commissioners Hearing Room, County Administration Building 1800 Continental Place, Mount Vernon, WA on May 10, 2022, at 9:30 a.m., for the purpose of considering public comment and possible action regarding the proposed adoption of revised Skagit County Code Chapter 12.01.
Attendance at meetings will be in-person. You may also attend meetings remotely through your telephone or from your computer, tablet, or smartphone with this link: https://bit.ly/SkaqitBoCCMtg or calling: 1 (253) 215-8782, Meeting ID: 871 8000 1980 Passcode: 143573.
Those who would like to sign up to provide public testimony must call the Clerk of the Board at (360) 416- 1300 before the meeting is scheduled to start. The Clerk will need each citizen' s name and the town or city where they reside. Once the public hearing is opened, those who signed up will be called on one-ata-time to provide public testimony for up to 3 minutes.
*Public Comment is now CLOSED*
Written comments may be submitted by mail or email. Email comments can be sent to Health@co.skagit.wa.us, or can be mailed or delivered to Public Health Administration at 700 South Second Street #301, Mount Vernon, WA 98273-1071. Both mail and emailed comments must be identified with the subject "Health Officer Orders and Enforcement." All written comments must be received prior to May 10, 2022 to be considered.
If approved by the County Board of Commissioners, the ordinance will take effect upon adoption.
The appointment of Board of Health members is done under the authorities of the County Commissioners.
Pursuant to Chapter 70.05.060 Revised Code of Washington (RCW), has the authority to enact local rules and regulations as are necessary in order to preserve, promote and improve the public health.