Carson City Health and Human Services (CCHHS) announced today it was selected by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) to participate in a test of the new national voluntary public health accreditation program. As one of 30 public health agencies selected from more than 145 applicants, CCHHS will work through the accreditation process and will provide valuable feedback that will inform the voluntary accreditation program’s national launch in 2011. The Health Department will receive technical assistance and funding to support quality improvement projects and cover the costs of providing feedback to PHAB. The beta test will begin in the fall of 2009 and conclude at the end of 2010. The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) will provide technical assistance to CCHHS.
“I’m very excited” said Marena Works, Director of CCHHS. “This was a very competitive process and I feel fortunate that Carson City was selected to take part in this national program.”
Dustin Boothe, an epidemiologist for CCHHS, thinks this reflects well on the programs and services the Health Department has to offer. “This helps us look at this national standard to see how we measure up and set goals for improvement areas,” he said. Boothe, along with Connie Lucido, will be representing CCHHS at a meeting of health agencies from across the country that have been selected to participate in the test program.
While there are standards for hospitals, schools, law enforcement agencies and even daycare centers, there has not previously been a nationally-recognized set of standards for public health departments despite the critical role they play in preserving and promoting the health of communities and residents. The goal of public health accreditation is to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing the quality and performance of all health departments in the country.
“The launch of the test is a critical step that moves us closer to a national voluntary accreditation program that is practical and promotes continuous quality improvement in all health departments,” said PHAB President and Chief Executive Officer Kaye Bender, RN, PhD, FAAN. “The overwhelming number of applications we received from health departments that wanted to be test sites signals that public health departments recognize the need for national standards and understand their value. With accreditation status, public health departments will be able to demonstrate increased accountability and credibility to the public, funders, elected officials and other stakeholders.”
“Local health departments protect people and keep them healthy,” said Robert M. Pestronk, Executive Director, National Association of County and City Health Officials. “Our Association is pleased to partner with PHAB, local health department
test sites, and other national organizations to establish a national accreditation program that will help shape the practice of public health in America. A national accreditation program is one important step towards continuously improving local health department public health practice that protects people and creates the conditions in which health is the natural outcome.”
In addition to NACCHO, several other leading national public health organizations have partnered with PHAB to support the test, including the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Association of Local Board of Health (NALBOH), the National Indian Health Board (NIHB), and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).
In order to ensure that they represent a broad cross-section of the U.S. population, the health departments selected to be part of the test vary in size, structure, population served, governance, geographic region, and degree of preparedness for accreditation. For a complete listing of the 30 test sites, please visit http://www.phaboard.org.
Marena Works, Director
CC Health & Human Services