What is Accreditation?
Just as hospitals and schools are accredited, public health jurisdictions can also apply for voluntary accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). PHAB was formed in 2007 with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and began the accreditation process in 2011. PHAB has developed a set of standards that assess the functioning of state, local, tribal and territorial health departments based on the 10 Essential Public Health Services, which define public health and serve as the foundation for equity, quality and performance improvement efforts.
To promote accountability, the standards also designate which measures correspond to the foundational capabilities in the Foundational Public Health Services (FPHS) framework. The FPHS framework defines a minimum set of capabilities and areas that must be available in every community and outlines the unique responsibilities of governmental public health. The framework is comprised of eight (8) public health infrastructure foundational capabilities and five (5) public health programs, or foundational areas.
What are the benefits?
Accreditation showcases the commitment to community health across the local public health system, and demonstrates to the public and policy makers that the Health Department is achieving high standards in the work that it does internally and externally.
Health departments report that accreditation helps them:
- Better identify their strengths and weaknesses
- Document their capacity to deliver the core functions and 10 Essential Public Health Services
- Promote transparency
- Improve their management processes
- Stimulate quality improvement and performance management
- Increase their accountability to community members, stakeholders, and policy makers
- Improve their communication with the governing entity
- Be more competitive in funding opportunities