Public health accreditation is more important than ever, as public health departments at the state and local levels strive to meet the demand for consistent and high-quality services while constrained by shrinking budgets.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is supporting a national voluntary accreditation program for public health agencies. Accreditation is new to public health agencies, having typically been found at hospital systems and universities in the past.
Accreditation aims to improve the quality of services delivered by public health agencies even as they work toward accreditation standards, as well as after they meet those standards. Accreditation also helps to reassure the public and elected officials that an agencies activities are at peak performance, in line with evidence-based national standards.
A health department can be accredited if it meets stringent standards surrounding the CDC's 10 Essential Public Health Services [Attn: Non-MDH site], and if it demonstrates a commitment to constant improvement. Health departments will be accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, or PHAB [Attn: Non-MDH site].
Minnesota's state public health agency (i.e., MDH) and its local and tribal health departments will apply for voluntary national accreditation. MDH's Office of Performance Improvement will staff the MDH application process, and will support local and tribal departments choosing to seek voluntary national accreditation.
MDH Accreditation Timeline
|July 2011||PHAB releases final standards and measures.|
|Summer 2011||MDH supports local and tribal public health departments assess ability to meet national standards and measures.|
|October 2011||PHAB begins accepting accreditation applications.|
|Fall/Winter 2011||MDH forms accreditation teams.|
|2012||MDH completes prerequisite documents, and applies for accreditation.|
|2013||MDH achieves National Voluntary Public Health Accreditation as a state health department.|