The Connecticut Department of Public Health
Public Health Preparedness and Local Health Section
Local Health Infrastructure Overview
The Office of Local Health Administration (OLHA) is responsible for ensuring the delivery of public health services at the local level. The mission of OLHA is to work with local partners to fulfill Connecticut General Statutes and Regulations thereby providing essential public health services statewide.
Connecticut’s local public health infrastructure encompasses a mixture of municipal health departments and regional health districts. All health districts provide full-time public services to their communities. Connecticut’s local public health system is decentralized. Local health agencies are autonomous and under the jurisdiction of the towns/municipality or health district served. Local health agency staff are hired and employed by their respective local health agency. The DPH Commissioner reviews the credentials of the director of health for the local health agency to assure minimum qualifications are met, pursuant to Connecticut General Statute (CGS) Section 19a-200 (municipal) and Section 19a-244 (district).
Currently, Connecticut has 61 local health agencies serving the State's entire population, 54 of which employ a full-time director of health (aka, full-time local health agency) and 7 of which employ a part-time director of health (aka, part-time local health agency). The full-time local health agencies include 34 independent municipal health departments and 20 health districts with jurisdictions spanning from two to 20 towns. Municipalities with a population of 40,000 for five consecutive years and health districts are required to have a full-time director of health. Full-time local health agencies serve 3,541,108 people or 98.3% of the State's population.
Local health agencies responsibilities include the enforcement of the Connecticut Public Health Code and mandated services as prescribed by CGS Section 368e (municipal) and Section 368f (district). For recent statutory changes, please see the 2022 Supplement to the General Statutes of Connecticut Revised to January 1, 2022 Section 368e (municipal) and Section 368f (district).
Local health agency ordinances and regulations may be more stringent than the State’s mandates, however they cannot be less stringent or in conflict with state regulations and statutes.
Town charters and local board of health by-laws may include for provisions of services that exceed the basic public health program.
Local health agencies have the legal authority to levy fines and penalties for public health code violations, and to grant and rescind license permits (such as for food services establishments or septic systems) and to establish fees for their services.
The DPH provides per capita grants-in-aid to local health agencies meeting the requirements under CGS Section 19a-202 (municipal) and Section 19a-245 (district). DPH also provides other state and federal funding to local health agencies to support public health activities within their jurisdiction.
Full and Part Time Local Health Agencies in Connecticut