In September of 2011, the Public Health Accreditation Board, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, launched a national voluntary accreditation program for state and local governmental public heatlh agencies. Public health department accreditation is defined as the development of a set of standards, a process to measure health department performance against those standards, and reward or recognition for those health departments who meet the standards.
PHAB’s public health department accreditation process seeks to advance quality and performance within public health departments. Accreditation standards define the expectations for all public health departments that seek to become accredited. National public health department accreditation has been developed because of the desire to improve service, value, and accountability to stakeholders.
Accreditation through PHAB provides a means for a department to identify performance improvement opportunities, to improve management, develop leadership, and improve relationships with the community. The process is one that will challenge the health department to think about what business it does and how it does that business. It will encourage and stimulate quality and performance improvement in the health department. It will also stimulate greater accountability and transparency.
Accreditation documents the capacity of the public health department to deliver the three core functions of public health and the Ten Essential Public Health Services. Thus, accreditation gives reasonable assurance of the range of public health services a department should provide. Accreditation declares that the health department has an appropriate mission and purpose and can demonstrate that it will continue to accomplish its mission and purpose.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Health plans to seek national accreditation in 2017. Part of that process involves the completion of a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) as a prerequisite. We are currently in the process of building this plan though a community initiate called HIP Cuyahoga, the brand for the Health Improvement Partnership (HIP), which includes a community health assessment of objective data on morbidities and mortalities in Cuyahoga County, combined with a community engagement process that includes a community survey in which the general public can share their issues related to health.