/ Articles / Oneida County Health Department earns reaccreditation status
Every day, people and communities trust public health departments to provide essential services that will keep them healthy, protect them from diseases and injuries, and ensure their food and water is safe. During public health emergencies such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, health departments are a community’s lifeline for providing services, information, and guidance that can save many lives.
To honor the trust that is placed in them and ensure they are providing the highest standards of service, more and more health departments are seeking national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). In March, PHAB announced it has awarded five-year reaccreditation status to the Oneida County Health Department.
The Oneida County Health Department was initially accredited in March 2014. A PHAB-accredited health department is accredited for five years; when initial accreditation expires, the health department must apply for and achieve reaccreditation in order to maintain accreditation status. To receive national accreditation through PHAB, a health department must undergo a rigorous, multi-faceted, peer-reviewed assessment process to ensure it meets nationally established public health quality standards and measures. PHAB-accredited health departments range in size from large state health departments serving tens of millions of people to small local health departments serving communities of fewer than 50,000 people PHAB reaccreditation builds on initial accreditation, but is very different. Both the requirements and the process for reaccreditation have been designed to ensure that accredited health departments continue to evolve, improve, and advance, thereby becoming increasingly effective at improving the health of the population they serve. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oneida County Health Department has been unable to plan a community event to celebrate its reaccreditation status, however does plan to hold one in the future.
“The work of public health never ceases — its 24/7 — and it is done so well and so seamlessly that it is largely invisible to the public,” said PHAB president and CEO Paul Kuehnert, DNP, RN, FAAN. “But this year, as COVID-19 tightens its grip on communities around the nation, people are becoming more and more aware and appreciative of what public health is and what public health does. People are looking to their public health departments to protect and guide them through this crisis, and national accreditation provides reassurance that the health department that serves them has the capacity to provide the highest quality of services.”
PHAB, the nonprofit organization administering the national public health accreditation program, aims to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing and transforming the quality and performance of governmental public health agencies in the U.S. and abroad. Launched in 2011 with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, PHAB’s accreditation program has become the national standard for public health in the United States. Eighty-two percent of the U.S. population is now reaping the benefits of being served by a PHAB- accredited health department. For more information, visit www.phaboard.org.