Alexandria, Virginia (PRWEB) March 20, 2014
The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) announced today it has awarded five-year accreditation status to nine public health departments. The decisions bring the number of governmental public health departments now recognized by PHAB as high-performing health departments to 31.
PHAB is the independent organization that administers the national public health accreditation program, which aims to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing the quality and performance of the nation’s Tribal, state, local, and territorial health departments.
Accreditation status was awarded March 19 to:
“Nine more health departments have demonstrated their commitment to ongoing performance management and quality improvement, and we are so pleased to confer accreditation on them to recognize those efforts,” said PHAB President and CEO Kaye Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN. “We are excited because with these accreditations, we have added five new states — Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, Utah, and Virginia — to the growing ranks of states with at least one nationally accredited health department. PHAB’s Board of Directors and staff congratulate them on this outstanding achievement. They are great role models for other health departments still in the process.”
Sixteen states across the nation now boast at least one nationally accredited health department, including Colorado, 1; Illinois, 3; Kentucky, 3; Michigan, 1; Minnesota, 1; Missouri, 1; Montana, 1; New York, 1; North Carolina, 1; Ohio, 4; Oklahoma, 4; Oregon, 1; Utah, 1; Virginia, 1; Washington, 2; and Wisconsin, 5.
PHAB-accredited health departments range in size from small health departments serving communities of 37,000 to those serving large metropolitan areas of millions. Hundreds of health departments are currently preparing to seek national accreditation through the program, which launched in September 2011 after more than a decade in development.
“It is a pleasure to see another cohort of public health departments achieve accreditation,” said PHAB Board of Directors member Hugh Tilson, MD, DrPH, MPH. “It is exciting to witness the wide variety of health departments, from small and rural to large and urban and from east to west. Perhaps most positive in this set of accreditation reviews was the frequent mention of commitment to continuous quality improvement, one of the key values of PHAB. The groundswell of support for accreditation continues.”
The national accreditation program sets standards against which the nation’s more than 3,000 public health departments can continuously work to improve the quality of their services and performance. To receive national accreditation, a health department must undergo a rigorous, multi-faceted, peer-reviewed assessment process to ensure it meets or exceeds a set of public health quality standards and measures. The peer-review process provides valuable feedback to inform health departments of their strengths and areas for improvement so that they can better protect and promote the health of the people in the communities they serve.
“This achievement demonstrates our department’s commitment to providing the highest quality of services to our community,” said Myron Bateman, MPA, executive director of the newly accredited Tooele County Health Department in Tooele, Utah. The Utah health department was one of 30 health departments across the nation to participate in a beta test of PHAB’s national accreditation program in 2009.
“The process since 2009 has been one of continuous quality improvement — identifying areas in the department, such as processes, programs, protocols, procedures, or policies that are lacking and making the necessary changes to increase output and desired results,” Bateman said. “Through the accreditation process we have strengthened our department’s capacity to deliver the 10 Essential Public Health Services, thereby creating a healthier Tooele County for our residents. Our accreditation efforts have increased our department’s collaboration with community partners as we work together to tackle our county’s biggest health challenges.”
Public health departments play a critical role in protecting and improving the health of people and communities. Across the nation, health departments provide a range of services aimed at promoting healthy behaviors; preventing diseases and injuries; ensuring access to safe food, water, clean air, and life-saving immunizations; and preparing for and responding to health emergencies.
For more information, contact Teddi Nicolaus at (703) 778-4549 ext. 118, or email tnicolaus(at)phaboard(dot)org. Learn more about PHAB and accreditation at http://www.phaboard.org.
The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) was created to serve as the national public health accrediting body and is jointly funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The development of national public health accreditation has involved, and is supported by, public health leaders and practitioners from the national, tribal, state, local, and territorial levels. Learn more about PHAB or sign up for the PHAB e-newsletter by visiting http://www.phaboard.org.