Skip to main content

Public health accreditation: 5 things to know

Public health accreditation five things to know

What are the hallmarks of an effective public health department? Public health accreditation may not be the first answer that comes to mind. But the Public Health Accreditation Board created a framework that can help health departments transform their quality, accountability and performance.

The Community Health Assessment anchors the PHAB framework, which includes 10 Essential Public Health Services aligned to 10 domains and eight key public health capabilities. To improve your application process, it’s essential to see how your CHA affects your public health accreditation. These are the five things you need to know now. 

1.    Accreditation is prevalent but takes time

Per the CDC, 80% of state public health departments are PHAB accredited, as are hundreds of local and tribal agencies. These achievements didn’t happen overnight. Public health departments may lack the time, staff, data and partnerships to refine their CHAs, much less leverage them for accreditation.

Prior to accreditation and re-accreditation, the PHAB framework includes:

  • Readiness Assessment — Completed before accreditation efforts can begin.
  • Pathways Recognition — Achieved when full accreditation is not yet within reach.

2.    The Essential Public Health Services are central to the CHA and PHAB accreditation

The CHA and PHAB accreditation help public health departments align with the CDC's 10 Essential Public Health Services:

  1. Assess and monitor population health. 
  2. Investigate, diagnose and address health hazards and root causes.
  3. Communicate effectively to inform and educate.
  4. Strengthen, support and mobilize communities and partnerships. 
  5. Create, champion and implement policies, plans and laws. 
  6. Utilize legal and regulatory actions.
  7. Enable equitable access to services. 
  8. Build a diverse and skilled workforce. 
  9. Improve and innovate through evaluation, research and quality improvement. 
  10. Build and maintain a strong organizational infrastructure for public health. 

In addition, EPHS and PHAB domains reflect eight core public health capabilities: 

Foundational Public Health Services

Source: PHAB Standards & Measures for Initial Accreditation Version 2022

Equity is the linchpin of EPHS; better population health must benefit all communities. This means removing identified systemic and structural barriers like poverty, racism, gender discrimination and ableism. 

3.    Health departments report multiple benefits to accreditation 

With the CHA at its core, PHAB standards work. CDC surveys confirm that health departments believe in the benefits of accreditation:

  • stimulate quality improvement (95%); 
  • improve accountability and transparency (89%); 
  • strengthen relationships with key external partners (78%); 
  • use health equity to identify health priorities (73%); and 
  • strengthen resource utilization (68%). 

4.    The PHAB framework evolves as public health needs do

Established in 2007, PHAB is "the sole national accrediting body for public health in the U.S." Since 2011, its accreditation standards and measures have been updated three times with Version 2022 reflecting "the future of public health practice." In addition to fully aligning with the 10 EPHS, PHAB has embedded health equity in every domain and pandemic lessons learned in accreditation preparedness requirements.

5.    All roads lead back to a strong CHA

Accreditation is not a one-and-done action. It is a continuous quality improvement effort that mirrors the aims of public health. Similarly, the CHA is not only an assessment but also a process. It’s a collaboration between those who conduct it and execute its findings, and one of the central pieces of documentation needed for PHAB accreditation.

Simplify your public health accreditation with DataGen

Want to learn more about how to simplify your Community Health Assessment for smoother PHAB accreditation? Contact us today to set up a free consultation specific to your organization’s needs. 


Popular posts from this blog

Unlock the Potential of Value-based Payment

A common misconception in healthcare practices: Organizations can quickly reap the benefits of value-based payment transformation. To launch a successful value-based payment program , practices must implement a variety of foundational pieces. It may take time, resources and data before a practice can successfully engage in VBP. In this blog, we'll cover what goes into VBP and its potential benefits. We'll also dig deeper into practice advancement strategies and how they can help you achieve your practice goals. What goes into VBP? Many practices want to implement VBP because of its payment structure and return on investment. Yet, they might not consider how to nurture a successful VBP program in their organization. It starts with a gap analysis regarding people, processes and technologies. It’s important to celebrate what is working well and intervene where improvement can be made. Successful VBP starts with the practice team. There are many perceptions vs. realities that exist

What is the purpose of a Community Health Assessment?

The purpose of a Community Health Assessment goes beyond achieving state requirements or receiving accreditation. If you're a local health department, you may be interested in finding ways to push your CHA data further to more easily identify ways to improve health equity and community outcomes. Focusing only on submission can be counter-productive to the community outcomes you want to achieve. In this blog, we'll give you an overview of the importance of conducting a CHA. Plus, we'll provide you with key information you can use to reset your workflow and rethink your processes. Why you need to complete a Community Health Assessment Certain states require a CHA because it provides a systematic review of a community's health status and essential data and information regarding the health of the community. Specifically, the New York state Department of Health writes, "Community health assessment is a fundamental tool of public health practice. Its aim is to describe