Florida Department of Health Achieves National Accreditation
On March 15, 2016, the Florida Department of Health received first-in-the-nation national accreditation as an integrated department of health through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). This seal of accreditation signifies that the unified Florida Department of Health, including the state health office and all 67 county health departments, has been rigorously examined and meets or exceeds national standards for public health performance management and continuous quality improvement.
The national accreditation program, jointly supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, sets standards against which the nation’s more than 3,000 governmental public health departments can continuously improve the quality of their services and performance. To receive accreditation, a health department must undergo a rigorous, multi-faceted, peer-reviewed assessment process to ensure it meets or exceeds a set of quality standards and measures.
Public health departments play a crucial role in protecting and improving the health of people and communities. In cities, towns and states across the nation, health departments provide a range of services aimed at promoting healthy behaviors; preventing diseases and injuries; ensuring access to safe food, water, clean air and life-saving immunizations; and preparing for and responding to public health emergencies.
The Department’s ability to keep communities ahead of emerging health threats while promoting best practices to meet ongoing health challenges has been enhanced through the process of achieving and maintaining public health accreditation. Meeting the standards and measures necessary to attain PHAB accreditation helps to ensure the Department’s success in achieving its mission to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida.
To maintain accreditation, health departments must reapply every five years. Where initial accreditation demonstrated that the Department has the capacities required to provide the ten Essential Public Health Services, Reaccreditation focuses on the use of those capacities and accountability, as well as on continuous quality improvement. The Reaccreditation Standards and Measures assess health departments’ improvements and advancements. Therefore, Reaccreditation requires that the health department provide narrative descriptions of the department’s work in the areas of the twelve PHAB Domains. Health departments are asked to tell the “story” of how they function and operate, from a department-wide perspective.
The Department has begun preparing for Reaccreditation, which begins formally with the first of two applications which was submitted on June 28. The first application is for the State Health Office and the second focuses on the 67 County Health Departments. The second application is due no later than March 31, 2021. Together these two phases will result in our successful Reaccreditation as the Florida Integrated Local Public Health Department System.
About the Public Health Accreditation Board
The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), established in 2007, was created to serve as the national public health accrediting body, and is jointly funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The development of national public health accreditation has involved, and is supported by, public health leaders and practitioners from the national, Tribal, state, and local levels. Learn more about PHAB or sign up for the PHAB e-newsletter by visiting www.phaboard.org.