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National Voluntary Accreditation for Public Health Departments

Benefits and Impacts of Accreditation

Many public service and health-related entities—such as hospitals, schools, and universities—have accreditation programs. Until recently, there was no national accreditation program for public health departments. Since September 2011, the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) has recognized health departments that meet national standards that ensure they provide essential public health services in their communities.

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 policymakers
  • Improve their communication with the governing entity/board of health
  • Be more competitive in funding opportunities

 * From PHAB annual evaluation data, 2016

The resources below provide more information about the benefits and impact of accreditation.

Evaluating the Impact of National Public Health Department Accreditation—United States, 2016 – A report in the August 12, 2016, MMWR issue describes how PHAB accreditation is bringing far-reaching benefits to health departments and the communities they serve. Accredited sites surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that accreditation yielded benefits. These benefits include

  • Stimulating quality and performance improvement (98%)
  • Creating greater accountability and transparency (92%)
  • Improving management processes (90%)

PHAB website and “Accreditation Works!” storiesPHAB’s website provides information about evaluation results, as well as a new series featuring stories from the field and tangible benefits health departments experienced. The site also includes a short PHAB-produced video highlighting the benefits of accreditation, including testimonials from public health leaders.

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: Transforming Public Health Practice Through Accreditation – This 20th anniversary edition (January/February 2014) highlights the emerging evidence base around public health department accreditation through research studies, commentaries, and case reports.