National voluntary public health accreditation provides a benchmark to measure how well governmental public health departments are providing the 10 Essential Public Health Services. Accreditation promotes high performance and continuous quality improvement, illustrates accountability to the public and policymakers, and clarifies the expectation of health departments. In addition, accreditation provides a framework for health departments to:
- Identify performance improvement opportunities
- Develop its leadership skills
- Improve relationships with the community
The process is managed by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) became an accredited health department on May 14, 2021, and encourages local health departments (LHDs) in Indiana to explore the potential benefits of accreditation.
Local Health Departments
Local health departments are the governmental body serving a geographical area smaller than a state and recognized as having the primary statutory authority to promote and protect the public's health and prevent disease in humans.
Local and tribal health departments are eligible for accreditation through PHAB. Accreditation will assist LHDs in building on quality improvement, becoming more efficient, and will provide a means to be recognized for achieving high standards in public health as the accreditation process is peer-reviewed. IDOH encourages the LHDs to pursue accreditation, either individually within the local county or multi-jurisdictional.
Initial Accreditation 2022 - For those who are not accredited
- Initial Accreditation Standards and Measures V2022
- PHAB's Policy on Initial Accreditation
- PHAB Terms and Conditions
Reaccreditation Version 2022 - For those who are accredited
Pathways - An alternative avenue to implementing best practices
There are several contributors to how long it will take you to become accredited. These include things such as:
- Level of importance by executive leadership and management
- Staff capacity
- Competing duties held by the Accreditation Coordinator
- What prerequisite plans are already in place
- The number of gaps identified in the gap analysis
- The amount of time it takes to collect, prepare, and submit documentation
- If you are asked to complete an action plan
IDOH prepared for accreditation for a few years before registering with the Public Health Accreditation Board. Below is the timeline of events from the time of registration until the accreditation decision.
Fairbanks School of Public Health - Local Health Department Accreditation
The Center for Public Health Practice at IUPUI Fairbanks School of Public provides resources and technical assistance to LHDs on public health accreditation. The Center can provide consultation and technical assistance on community health assessments, community health improvement plans, workforce development plans, quality improvement plans, and performance management systems.
National Association of County Health Officials (NACCHO)
The National Association of County Health Officials is an organization of local health departments that works to improve public health while adhering to a set of core values: equity, excellence, participation, respect, integrity, leadership, science & innovation.
Public Health Accreditation Board
Public Health Accreditation Board is a non-profit agency that reviews a health department's services and day-to-day operations and determines if the health department meets the standards of best practice to receive accreditation status. There are several resources to assist in accreditation readiness.
The following IDOH document examples include documents that have been reviewed by PHAB and received either a fully or largely met score under the Standards and Measures Version 1.5. Documents created after March 31, 2021, have not been reviewed by PHAB. IDOH cannot guarantee any examples produced based on these examples will fully meet the requirements of its corresponding measure.
State Plans Examples (Developed under 1.5 Standards)
Prior Indiana State Plan Examples (Reviewed by PHAB Under Version 1.5)
- Indiana State Health Assessment Process (1.1.1S3)
- Indiana State Health Assessment (1.1.2S1)
- Indiana State Health Improvement Plan Process (5.2.1S1)
- Indiana State Health Improvement Plan (5.2.2S1)
Agency Plan Examples (Current: Originally Developed under 1.5 Standards and will be updated if necessary for 2022 standards)
Prior Agency Plans (Reviewed by PHAB Under Version 1.5)
- IDOH's Organizational Branding Strategy (3.2.2A1)
- IDOH's Performance Management System (9.1.2A1)
- IDOH's Strategic Planning Process (5.3.1A1)
- IDOH's Strategic Plan (5.3.2A1)
- IDOH's Workforce Development Plan (8.2.1A1)
- IDOH's Quality Improvement Plan (9.2.1A1)
PHAB Developed Materials
- Acronyms and Glossary of Terms Version 2022
- Scope of Authority (Policy and additional resources)
- Quality Improvement Methodologies
Indiana Department of Health's Accreditation
Indiana's Process for Accreditation
IDOH hired an accreditation coordinator in 2015 to help drive the accreditation journey. Time was taken to learn about the accreditation process and purpose, and providing that knowledge to the staff to lay the foundation of the work needed to be successful. In 2016 a team of individuals was brought together to do an overview and large gap analysis. This team of 14 individuals started what is known as the A-Team
Over the next 18 months, the agency worked on closing some of those gaps and developing the required documentation needed for application submission. In February 2018 the A-Team expanded and developed "Domain Teams". These teams are led by individuals who originally start the accreditation team and became what was known as the "Core Team". Domain teams met an average of once a month to review the standards and measures and identify needed documentation. In the fall of 2018, the A-Team expanded once more to develop the "Review Team". This group of individuals reviewed documents for accuracy and clarity, assessing for items such as spelling errors, clear descriptions, correct labeling in coversheets, and completeness of the example.
IDOH submitted its documentation to PHAB on June 28, 2019. While responding to questions and submitting additional supporting documents when necessary, IDOH started to prepare for the site visit. Preparation included notifying stakeholders and partners of our progress and inviting them to come to speak to the PHAB site review team, preparing staff for their interviews, and holding a mock site visit to help better prepare the agency for the exciting event. IDOH welcomed the site visit team on February 5th and 6th of 2020. In June, IDOH received a recommendation of measures they should focus on over the next 12 months. IDOH worked diligently on these items, while also responding to the Covid-19 emergency, and submitted additional documentation on March 31, 2021. IDOH officially became an accredited state health department on May 14, 2021.
IDOH Accreditation Coordinator
Patricia Truelove: PTruelove1@health.in.gov
IDOH Accreditation Program Team
Maria Beltran: MBeltran@health.in.gov