JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) has been chosen by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) as one of 30 health departments nationwide to participate in a test of the new national voluntary public health accreditation program. MSDH was selected from more than 145 applicants to work through the accreditation process and provide valuable feedback prior to the national launch of the system in 2011.
“We are pleased to be part of this ground-breaking program. By serving as a test site, we are afforded the early opportunity to influence the accreditation process and ensure our state public health standards are aligned with the national standards,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Mary Currier. “We are proud to have a hand in shaping the national accreditation program and advancing the quality of public health,” she said.
While there are standards for hospitals, schools, law enforcement agencies and even daycare centers, there has not previously been a nationally recognized set of standards for public health departments despite the critical role they play in preserving and promoting the health of communities and residents. The goal of public health accreditation is to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing the quality and performance of all health departments in the country.
“The launch of the test is a critical step that moves us closer to a national voluntary accreditation program that is practical and promotes continuous quality improvement in all health departments,” said PHAB President and Chief Executive Officer Kaye Bender. “With accreditation status, public health departments will be able to demonstrate increased accountability and credibility to the public, funders, elected officials and other stakeholders.”
A total of 19 local, eight state and three tribal health departments will participate in the test, including the state health departments of Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Washington, Iowa, Oklahoma and Wyoming. MSDH will receive technical assistance for accreditation and quality improvement, funding to support quality improvement projects and funding to cover the costs of providing detailed feedback to PHAB. The test period extends from Fall 2009 through the end of 2010.
Other leading national public health organizations are partnering with PHAB to support the test, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Association of County and City Health Officials, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, National Association of Local Board of Health, the National Indian Health Board and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
For more information about the public health accreditation program or for a complete list of test sites, visit http://www.phaboard.org.