What Is the Impact of State Laws and Policies on Public Health Departments Seeking Accreditation?

    • December 18, 2012

Dates of Project: February 2011 to April 2012

Field of Work: Accreditation of public health agencies

Problem Synopsis: Government agencies may now apply for accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board. Many states already have legal, regulatory, and other mandates in place that may help agencies satisfy the prerequisites for approval.

Synopsis of the Work: A research team working under the auspices of the Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials surveyed the legal landscape and interviewed state officials in all 50 states regarding laws and policies that could help agencies move toward accreditation.

The 50 states have some 360 laws, regulations, executive orders, policy decisions, and performance contracts requiring public health agencies to complete one or more prerequisites for accreditation.

Key Findings

Among the key findings of this project are the following:

  • The 50 states have some 360 state and local laws, legislative resolutions, regulations, executive orders, policy decisions by agency directors, and performance contracts requiring a state or local health department to complete one or more of the prerequisites for accreditation.
  • Some 24 states have a mandate requiring public health departments to fulfill one or more of the prerequisites, though states do not enforce all the mandates.
  • Only a few state laws or regulations actually mention accreditation. However, almost all states are comfortable using existing public health authority to complete one or more of the accreditation requirements.

Common barriers to progress in completing the prerequisites for accreditation included limited financial and staff resources, a need for training and education, and funding and program silos that prevent cross-cutting work.

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Find mandates in your state that will help you win accreditation, at www.publichealthalliance.org/chachipresearch.