PHAB Accreditation

What is PHAB?

Health departments are the backbone of the public health system. The public health system is essential for ensuring healthy, safe, and equitable communities. Health departments are a vital part of this system, and positively impact the health of the communities they serve, through essential services such as vaccination, food inspections and health education, yet they are often underfunded and undervalued.

Lack of sustainable funding and resources for our public health system put our communities at risk. PHAB contributes to the advancement of public health practice and system improvement to support people living their healthiest lives.

Accreditation and innovation are critical to public health transformation.

We promote evidence and innovation to support health departments in their delivery of programs and services to drive performance improvement and strong infrastructure.

Why is accreditation important? 

Accreditation provides a framework for health departments to identify performance improvement opportunities, demonstrate credibility, develop leadership, and improve relationships with the community. It serves as both an accountability and transparency mechanism and is a step on a journey to transform public health practice.



Accreditation means excellence. It means that a health department is committed to continuous quality and performance improvement. Accreditation is a way to engage all staff in transformation and improvement efforts. Learn about the benefits of accreditation.


To maintain accreditation status, the health department will be evaluated against a set of national standards 5-years after accreditation status has been awarded. Reaccreditation ensures that accredited health departments continue to evolve, improve, and advance their public health practice to serve their community.

The Standards & Measures document serves as the official standards, measures, required documentation, and guidance blueprint for PHAB national public health department reaccreditation. The Policy presents the process for maintaining accreditation status.


PHAB instituted a fee structure to manage and maintain the national accreditation process. Applicant fees are necessary for PHAB to provide quality services to both applicants for accreditation and accredited health departments. Public health department accreditation is not a “one-time” event; it is an ongoing commitment to continuous quality improvement.

PHAB has listened to feedback from health departments and public health partners and adjusted our internal processes and fees to respond to the needs of the field with the new Version 2022 Fee Structure.

Montana Accreditation Network

If you are interested in joining the Montana Accreditation Network, please contact


Pathways Recognition is a program designed to support performance improvement efforts, strengthen infrastructure, and facilitate public health system transformation for local, Tribal, and territorial public health departments not yet ready for accreditation. Pathways can facilitate accreditation readiness for eligible health departments intending to use the program as a step toward accreditation.

Pathways Recognition assesses health departments on the Foundational Capability measures in the PHAB initial accreditation Version 2022 Standards and Measures. There are 34 measures assessed in the Pathways Recognition program, and they are divided into two tracks –Services and Partnerships and Health Department Systems.

Why Pathways Recognition?

The Pathways Recognition process is a meaningful step along a health department’s performance improvement journey. It allows a health department to make sizable progress toward accreditation by demonstrating achievement of the Foundational Capabilities. Pathways Recognition can also provide a glidepath for initial accreditation by allowing assessment of Pathways measures to carryforward to initial accreditation and through a discount on accreditation fees.