National Public Health Accreditation
Public health departments play a critical, but often unrecognized role in promoting and protecting the health of people in communities across the country. Despite the important role health departments play in our communities, there has not been a national system for ensuring their accountability and quality—until now.
National public health accreditation aims to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing the quality and performance of state, tribal, and local health departments. The accreditation process is overseen by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB).
Recent research has shown that accreditation drives public health departments to continuously improve the quality of the services they deliver to the community (source).
Accreditation provides an opportunity for public health departments to measure their performance, get recognition for their accomplishments and demonstrate accountability within their communities. Also, as the public health field faces increasing challenges from epidemics and disaster preparedness, it is more important than ever that systems are in place to ensure their effectiveness and quality of services.
Accreditation in Minnesota
Accreditation is considered a "next step" in Minnesota's ongoing effort to improve the quality and performance of the public health system. Establishing consistent program performance expectations and related measurable indicators could promote consistent and improved public health practice in Minnesota. Indeed, Minnesota’s Local Public Health Assessment and Planning process and annual reporting align tightly with the national accreditation process.
The SCHSAC Performance Improvement and Accreditation workgroup set the following goal for Minnesota’s local public health system:
By 2020, 100% of community health boards will be prepared to apply for accreditation.
As of August 2016, the following Minnesota health departments have received national accreditation:
- Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health Department
- Washington County Department of Public Health and Environment
- Bloomington Public Health / Public Health Alliance of Bloomington, Edina, and Richfield
- Dakota County Public Health Department
- St. Paul-Ramsey County Public Health
- Minneapolis Health Department
- Minnesota Department of Health
Source: Kronstadt J, Meit M, Siegfried A, Nicolaus T, Bender K, Corso L. Evaluating the Impact of National Public Health Department Accreditation—United States, 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:803–806. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6531a3