Sharing Session Recap: Public Health Accreditation: Improving the Quality of Services
Public Health Accreditation: Improving the Quality of Services
During this sharing session, Dr. Kaye Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN, President and CEO, Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), announced that PHAB will release the date of the fall launch next week and assured that PHAB is building staff and surge capacity so there is no barrier to accepting all eligible applicants. Dr. Bender provided an overview of the newly released official PHAB materials, including the two most anticipated documents: the Guide to National Public Health Department Accreditation Version 1.0 and the PHAB Standards and Measures Version 1.0. An audience member commented that their health department has been following PHAB and was pleased to see the PHAB process and Standards and Measures are clear and provide health departments with the right amount of direction.
Rex Archer, MD, MPH, Director of Health, Kansas City (MO) Health department, brought the perspective of both a local health officer and member of the PHAB Board of Directors. As a member of the PHAB fee committee, he provided an overview of the PHAB 2011–2012 Fee Structure Version 1.0. The eight fees categories based on population are subsidized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and spread over five years with flexible payment options for easier budget planning with no increases throughout the accreditation cycle. Dr. Archer shared, "sometimes you need to spend money to make money" and described accreditation as an investment to elevate the visibility, credibility, accountability, and efficiency of health departments while increasing recognition of public health''s role and value.
Toho Soma, MPH, Accreditation Coordinator, City of Portland (ME) Public Health Division, shared lessons from their health department''s experience as a beta test site. Toho emphasized the importance of explaining benefits and expectations of accreditation to leadership in the department and governing entities. He shared that the process provided the impetus to formalize quality improvement processes/plans and the opportunity to collaborate and learn from others in the department and community partners.
In closing, an audience member asked how to convince governance and elected officials of the need for accreditation. Dr. Archer responded that accreditation is a process by which external public health experts assess performance of the health department, and accountability is something elected officials easily understand. They expect their kids to go to accredited hospitals and schools; why should the expectation for health departments be lower? He suggests explaining how accreditation will lead the health down the path toward advancing quality and performance improvement through a process of expert review that focuses on vital priorities and provides measurable results.
Rachel Margolis, MPH, is an accreditation specialist at PHAB.