CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The City of Corpus Christi And Nueces County are officially Breaking Their Joint Partnership through The City-County Health District.
Officials with the City of Corpus Christi say they're forming their own health department separate from the county. The decision was announced during Tuesday's city council meeting.
City Manager Peter Zanoni said the goal is to have a City department that will have much better health outcomes for Corpus Christi residents. According to Zanoni this is not out of the ordinary, he said larger cities have their own health departments and he feels the city has grown enough to follow suit.
“The City will create its separate health department,” said Zanoni.
“A lot of what you see today is what we’ll see with the separate department, but we know it’ll be at a higher standard because the clarity of the business model.”
With a new department Zanoni said they met with health district employees on Wednesday.
“We did meet with employees today to make sure they know they’re critical in the transition period and we’re gonna rely on them, they're the experts,” said Zanoni.
Because the district is the City and County, there are employees who are employed with the County and others with the City.
“About 50 employees were there this morning, Zanonoi said. "And 60 total on the City side and we want them to know we care about them.”
Additionally, Zanoni added that the health district is still in operation.
“The health district still exists and that would be with Nueces County," Zanoni said. "They’re one of the parties in the health district, so Annette some of the contracts they will all still remain with the district."
Zanoni said with this new transition there will be two separate buildings.
“The building today we operate out of is a city facility and that’ll continue to have city employees in there,” said Zanoni. “In our letter to the judge last night we did indicate that if the county needs more time more lease time, we’d be willing to negotiate that as well as some of the contracts we have that are joint funded.”
The letter given to Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales on Tuesday came as a surprise.
“It was given with no notice, no discussion, no lawyers talking, no plan,” Canales said.
Additionally, Canales said with the COVID-19 pandemic still going on this decision to part ways is not being made at the best time.
“If you’re thinking about forming another department your head is not in the game because what we need to be focused on is saving lives and protecting people,” said Canales.
Furthermore, Canales said the county is still unaware of certain details when it comes to this new transition.
“I’m certain in the days to come there will be discussions about what is our course of action for our future,” said Canales.
Canales adds that no matter what serving residents will continue to come first.
“They may just be focused on some residents but I am focused on all the residents of Nueces County,” said Canales.