Public Health Accreditation Board

Accreditation: Why It's Important Now

The importance of quality public health services has recently been made quite clear, in the midst of the national debate on health care reform and efforts to control the spread of the H1N1 flu epidemic. Health departments around the country work every day to combat new public health threats and keep Americans healthy.

The goal of the national public health accreditation program is to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing the quality and performance of all health departments in the country – state, local, territorial and tribal. Accreditation will drive public health departments to continuously improve the quality of the services they deliver to the community. Accreditation is a critical part of the future of public health, and as the national conversation around health reform progresses, accreditation will be an integral part of that dialogue.

For public health departments, accreditation means demonstrated accountability and improved quality. Nationally, public health accreditation means that people across the country can expect the same quality of public health programs and services no matter where they live – in a Northeast city, a West Coast suburb, or a Midwest town. The expectation is that accreditation will strengthen public health departments and the services they provide, which will contribute to improved health outcomes in communities. Local public health departments that are participating in state accreditation programs have already reported a variety of benefits from accreditation, including:

  • Performance feedback and quality improvement. The accreditation assessment process provides valuable, measurable feedback to health departments on their strengths and areas for improvement so they can better protect, promote and preserve the community’s health.
  • Accountability and credibility. Gaining accreditation status demonstrates accountability to elected officials and communities, resulting in increased credibility for public health departments.
  • Staff morale and visibility. The recognition of excellence brought on by meeting accreditation standards has positively impacted staff morale and enhanced the visibility of the health departments.