Public Health Accreditation
The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) is a non-profit organization, which is jointly sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Robert Wood Johnson foundation. PHAB administers the national accreditation program, whose goal is to promote and protect the health of the public by advancing the quality and performance of all health departments. To receive accreditation, a health department must undergo a rigorous, multi-faceted, peer-reviewed process to ensure it meets or exceeds a set of quality standards and measures.
Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is currently on a "Quest for Quality." IDPH gained accreditation in August 2015. The Office of Performance Management oversees IDPH’s accreditation compliance.
What Are the Benefits of Accreditation?
- Performance and quality improvement. The accreditation process identifies positions of strength of the public health department and isolates areas that need improvement so they may be addressed accordingly. The accreditation process, therefore, acts as the catalyst for a continuous improvement process for the public health department.
- Strengthens internal and external partnerships. Accreditation improves the understanding of staff and key stakeholders of their roles in the promotion of the public health department’s goals. It promotes understanding of how one’s job contributes to cultivating internal and external partnerships, the cornerstone of achieving success in any organization.
- Recognition, competitiveness and credibility. Being recognized with a national accreditation upholds the public health department’s credibility in the community. It also brings irrefutable competitiveness in relation to grants and funding opportunities.
PHAB Accreditation Process
There are 7 steps to the PHAB accreditation process for health departments
- Pre-application. The public health department prepares and assesses their readiness to apply for accreditation, completes an online orientation, and submits a SOI to PHAB.
- Application. The public health department submits a formal application along with the corresponding fees as its formal notification to PHAB. The accreditation coordinator is now to participate and complete the PHAB training prior submitting documentations for the PHAB measures and standards.
- Document selection and submission. This is the process of selecting and identifying documents that demonstrate the public health department’s compliance with PHAB’s standards and measures. Once vetted for congruence with set standards, documents are uploaded onto the e-PHAB system.
- Site visit. The site visit to the public health department is conducted by PHAB-trained site visitors. The site visit will focus on verifying the accuracy of submitted documentations, areas of excellence and those that need improvement, and the visit also provides opportunity for discussion and further explanation. A report is developed after this step.
- Accreditation decision. The accreditation committee at PHAB will review the site visit report to determine the accreditation status of the public health department.
- Annual reports. Once officially recognized and accredited, the public health department submits annual report outlining (a) addressing priority areas for improvement and (b) continuing to be in conformity with the PHAB standards and measures.
- Re-accreditation. Accredited health departments are required to submit re-application and undergo a re-accreditation process including submission of documents and site visit every 5 years.