First Vital Records and Health Statistics Unit Receives National Accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board

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The Designation Will Recognize the Enhanced Delivery of Vital Records Services Across the Country

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"Communities served by accredited VRHS units can be assured that their data and important information are handled with care and used to inform vital public health services in their community,” said PHAB President and CEO Paul Kuehnert, DNP, RN, FAAN.

The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) today announced national accreditation status for the first Vital Records and Health Statistics (VRHS) unit through its VRHS Accreditation program. The South Dakota Department of Health Office of Vital Records and Office of Health Statistics is the first nationally accredited VRHS unit and received initial accreditation status for five years.

The VRHS national accrediting program, which receives support from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), sets standards against which the nation’s governmental VRHS units can continuously improve the quality of their services and performance.

“We are thrilled to introduce the first nationally accredited Vital Records and Health Statistics unit,” said Steven Schwartz, PhD, Director of the Division of Vital Statistics at NCHS. “It has been a tremendous, collaborative effort to uplift the important work of vital records programs within health departments across the country. Accreditation offers opportunities for performance improvement and accountability in the stewardship and delivery of vital records services.”

Vital records and health statistics are essential to public health service and responsible for filing, protecting, and preserving birth certificates, death certificates and other important documents and records. The unit is critical in creating and informing effective public health programs in communities.

“The South Dakota Department of Health relies on preserved information and accurate data to best inform and deliver public health programs to our communities,” said Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health. “It is an honor to be the first VRHS unit in the country to demonstrate our commitment to accountability and performance improvement through PHAB accreditation.”

PHAB, the nongovernmental, nonprofit organization that administers the national accrediting program, aims to transform and protect public health practice by championing performance improvement, strong infrastructure, and innovation. This mission encouraged PHAB and other public health leaders to develop a program to foster effectiveness for other aspects of public health service such as vital records and health statistics.

"Communities served by accredited VRHS units can be assured that their data and important information are handled with care and used to inform vital public health services in their community,” said PHAB President and CEO Paul Kuehnert, DNP, RN, FAAN. “We are pleased to recognize the South Dakota Department of Health Office of Vital Records and Office of Health Statistics in this monumental endeavor.”

For more information, contact Janalle Goosby, Communications and Public Affairs Specialist, at jgoosby@phaboard.org. Learn more about PHAB and accreditation at http://www.phaboard.org.

About the Public Health Accreditation Board
The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) was created to serve as the national public health accrediting body and is funded in part by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Vital Records/Health Statistics accreditation is funded, in part, by the National Center for Health Statistics. The development of national public health accreditation has involved, and is supported by, public health leaders and practitioners from the national, state, local, Tribal, and territorial levels.

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Janalle Goosby
@phaboard
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