FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 5, 2016
Contact: Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-093
Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391
DPHHS Public Health and Safety Division achieves national public health accreditation status
Public Health Accreditation Board designation recognizes high-performing health departments
The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) announced today that the agency’s Public Health and Safety Division (PHSD) has achieved five-year national accreditation status from the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB).
The national accreditation program works to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing the quality and performance of the nation’s state, local, Tribal, and territorial public health departments. Just as schools, hospitals, and law enforcement agencies do, health departments can use the accreditation process to improve services and better protect public health.
“National accreditation signifies the ongoing commitment in our state to improve and protect the health of the public,” said Governor Steve Bullock. “It’s so important that we are doing everything possible to ensure the programs and services we provide are as responsive as possible to the needs of the communities and that they are delivered as effectively as possible.”
To earn this distinction, the PHSD underwent a rigorous, multi-faceted, peer-reviewed process to ensure it meets or exceeds a set of quality standards and measures. The accreditation process provides valuable feedback to inform health departments of their strengths and areas for improvement so that they can better protect and promote the health of the people in the communities they serve.
Currently, public health accreditation is a voluntary process. Montana is the 20th state to achieve national accreditation. Four other local health departments in Montana have achieved this status: Missoula City-County Health Department, RiverStone Health, Gallatin City-County Health Department, and most recently Flathead City-County Health Department.
“We are pleased and excited to be recognized for achieving national standards that foster effectiveness and promote continuous quality improvement,” said DPHHS Director Richard Opper. “This visibly demonstrates the work of our dedicated public health professionals who are committed to improving and protecting what matters most – the health of Montanans.”
Public health departments play a critical 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 health emergencies.
The Public Health Accreditation Board is the independent organization that administers the voluntary national accreditation program, which is jointly sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson foundation. The program was created collaboratively over a 10-year period by public health practitioners working at the national, tribal, state and local public health levels.
While public health departments provide expert leadership in protecting and promoting the health of people in communities across the country, there has not been a set of nationally recognized standards until the organization launched in 2011. The 32 standards cover issues ranging from community health, chronic disease prevention and control, communicable disease prevention and control, injury prevention, health education, health promotion, maternal and child health, public health emergency preparedness, access to clinical services, public health laboratory services, management and administration, and governance.