The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has developed the first national, voluntary accreditation system to improve the quality and efficiency of public health services. To apply to become accredited under this system, all state, local, regional and tribal public health agencies must first complete three prerequisites: a community health assessment, a community health improvement plan and a strategic plan.
In advance of PHAB opening its doors to applications from health departments in September 2011, RWJF commissioned a study led by Lee Thielen, M.P.A., and Marilyn Leff, M.S.W., M.S.P.H., Ph.D., to estimate the anticipated costs for health agencies of all sizes to complete these prerequisites. The report, entitled Ready, Set, Go: The Costs of Prerequisites for National Voluntary Accreditation of Public Health Agencies, finds that these costs will vary depending on the total population under an agency’s jurisdiction, the size of an agency’s staff and budget, and whether the agency has previously completed assessments for state or local accreditation programs. Among its recommendations are the following: