Public Health Accreditation: One Year Later

Nov 8, 2012, 4:29 PM

The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) recently celebrated the one year anniversary of the launch of national public health accreditation.

Over 100 health departments have engaged with the Public Health Accreditation Board on their accreditation journey, according to PHAB CEO Kaye Bender in an email exchange with NewPublicHealth, and more health departments enter the system each week. “One year post launch of voluntary national public health department accreditation, PHAB is excited about the progression of health departments through the process,” Bender wrote. “The first site visits began last month, and more are scheduled. We expect to announce the first accredited health departments in early 2013!”

At the recent APHA 2012 conference, representatives from California’s state and local health departments led a session offering their peers a first look at the accreditation process underway in California. As PHAB states, “the goal of national public health accreditation program is to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing the quality and performance of all health departments in the country – state, local, territorial and tribal.” All of the California representatives made a case for why accreditation is a priority for their respective departments.

“Accreditation equals opportunity,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, California Department of Public Health director. “Quality improvement is about problem solving. Infuse quality into what you do every day and you will see transformation.”

>>Watch a VIDEO with Ron Chapman about new opportunities to transform public health by making quality improvement a way of life.

Dr. Alonzo Plough, Emergency Preparedness and Response Program director for the Los Angeles County Public Health Department, said accreditation’s quality improvement standards align well with the “triple aim” goals of: improving patients’ experience of care, improving the health of populations and reducing the cost of health care.

Plumas County Public Health Agency director, Mimi Hall, talked about how building relationships with local hospitals and community and business leaders can help meet public health goals.

“We have to redefine the role of public health and work with outside organizations to get the best benefit for the community,” said Hall. “Accreditation pulls it all together.”

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.