Every day in communities and states across the country, public health departments help millions of people lead healthier lives. The Exploring Accreditation project provided an opportunity to consider whether and how a voluntary national accreditation program could lead to further improved health for their constituencies. The Exploring Accreditation Steering Committee and its workgroups developed a draft model for such a program. After receiving extensive and thoughtful comments through presentations, web-based feedback, and formal surveys, the Steering Committee revised the model. The Steering Committee also considered a business case for developing and operating the model.
The Steering Committee concluded that it is desirable and feasible to move forward with establishing the recommended model program as it is presented in this report. This voluntary national accreditation program should:
- Promote high performance and continuous quality improvement;
- Recognize high performers that meet nationally accepted standards of quality and improvement;
- Illustrate health department accountability to the public and policy-makers;
- Increase the visibility and public awareness of governmental public health, leading to greater public trust and increased health department credibility, and ultimately a stronger constituency for public health funding and infrastructure; and
- Clarify the public's expectations of state and local health departments.