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For Release: September 22, 2009
Contact: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

OSDH Selected to Test National Accreditation Program  
Test Will Help to Shape the Future of Public Health

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) announced today it was selected by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) to participate in a test of the new national voluntary public health accreditation program. As one of 30 public health agencies – including 19 local, eight state, and three tribal health departments – selected from more than 145 applicants, the OSDH will work through the accreditation process and will provide valuable feedback that will inform the voluntary accreditation program’s national launch in 2011. The Department will receive technical assistance for accreditation and quality improvement, funding to support quality improvement projects, and funding to cover the costs of providing detailed feedback to PHAB. The beta test period goes from fall 2009 through the end of 2010. The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials will provide technical assistance to the Department.

“We are pleased to be part of this ground breaking program,” said Terry Cline, PhD, Commissioner of Health.  “We recognize that this is a unique opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of our services and also showcase the high quality programs and services associated with the Oklahoma State Department of Health.”  Further, Barry Smith, President of the Oklahoma State Board of Health, stated, “We are proud to have a hand in shaping the national accreditation program and advancing the quality of public health.”

“While there are standards for schools, hospitals, law enforcement agencies, and daycare centers, there has not previously been a nationally-recognized set of standards for public health departments despite the critical role they play in preserving and promoting the health of communities and residents,” said Joyce Marshall, OSDH Director for the Office of Performance Management. “The main goal of public health accreditation is to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing the quality and performance of all health departments throughout the state and the nation.”

The PHAB Board President and Chief Executive Officer Kaye Bender, RN, PhD, FAAN, explained that the launch of the test is a critical step to a national voluntary accreditation program that is practical and promotes continuous quality improvement in all health departments. “Public health departments recognize the need for national standards and understand their value. With accreditation status, public health departments will be able to demonstrate increased accountability and credibility to the public, funders, elected officials and other stakeholders,” Bender said.

Several leading national public health organizations have partnered with PHAB to support the test, including the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Association of County and City Health Officials, National Association of Local Board of Health, the National Indian Health Board, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

In order to ensure that they represent a broad cross-section of the U.S. population, the health departments selected to be part of the  test vary in size, structure, population served, governance, geographic region, and degree of preparedness for accreditation. For a complete listing of the 30 test sites, please visit http://www.phaboard.org.  

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The Oklahoma State Department of Health and Comanche County Health Department Chosen to Test the National Public Health Accreditation Program

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and the Comanche County Health Department (CCHD) are pleased to announce that we have been chosen by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) as one of the 30 public health departments across the country that will participate in testing the national voluntary public health accreditation program. We are proud to have been selected from a pool of over 145 candidates.  During the test, we will go through the accreditation process, review guidance documents, test forms, review the accreditation standards, and provide valuable feedback that will inform the program’s national launch in 2011. We are honored to be recognized for our leadership, commitment to quality improvement, and dedication to advancing our community’s health. This test of the national program is a crucial step toward establishing a national public health accreditation program that will advance the quality of public health nationwide.   

A total of 19 local, eight state and three tribal health departments will participate, and will receive technical assistance on accreditation and quality improvement, funding to support quality improvement projects and funding to cover the costs of providing detailed feedback to PHAB on the accreditation process. From the fall of 2009 through the end of 2010, the OSDH and CCHD will work with PHAB, the other 28 agencies and national public health leaders such as the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, National Association of County and City Health Officials, National Association of Local Boards of Health, and the National Indian Health Board.

We look forward to this unique opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of our services and showcase our high quality programs and services.  We are proud to have a hand in shaping the national public health accreditation program and advancing the quality of public health nationally. 

For more information on the beta test and the importance of public health accreditation, please visit PHAB’s Web site at http://www.phaboard.org.  

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