Health & Mental Hygiene attains national public health accreditation
PHAB-certified departments demonstrate capacity to serve communities well
Baltimore, MD (June 14, 2017) – The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced today that it has achieved national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). The national accreditation program works to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing and ultimately transforming the quality and performance of the nation’s state, local, tribal, and territorial public health departments.
Health and Mental Hygiene is one of fewer than 200 health departments that have thus far achieved accreditation through PHAB since the organization launched in 2011. “We are pleased and excited to be recognized for achieving national standards that foster effectiveness and promote continuous quality improvement,” said Dennis Schrader, Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene. “The accreditation process helps to ensure that the programs and services we provide are as responsive as possible to the needs of our state and communities. With accreditation, the department is demonstrating increased accountability and credibility to the public, funders, elected officials and partner organizations with which we work.”
The national accreditation program, jointly supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, sets standards against which the nation’s nearly 3,000 governmental public health departments can continuously improve the quality of their services and performance. To receive accreditation, a health department must undergo a rigorous, multi-faceted, peer-reviewed assessment process to ensure it meets or exceeds a set of quality standards and measures.
As an accredited public health agency, the health department has been evaluated across 12 core domains that provide benchmark standards to improve health services and business operations. Examples of Maryland’s work to meet these standards include streamlining emergency response activation protocols around infectious disease and environmental health incidents, as well as ensuring accessibility to culturally and linguistically appropriate health services.
Many of the public health accreditation components center on constituent and customer service, a major focus of Governor Larry Hogan’s Customer Service Promise. The work of the Department to meet these standards of responsiveness and service associated with accreditation strengthen the Governor’s commitment to foster the philosophy of outstanding service delivery.
“Whenever you see our seal of accreditation, you will know that the health department has been rigorously examined and that it meets or exceeds national standards that promote continuous quality improvement for public health,” said Dr. Howard Haft, Deputy Secretary of Public Health. “By continuing to improve our services and performance, we can be sure we are meeting the public health needs of those we serve as effectively as possible.”
The national accreditation program was created collaboratively over a 10-year period by hundreds of public health practitioners working at the national, Tribal, state, and local levels. Health and Mental Hygiene joins seven local health departments in the state also accredited through PHAB. Allegany, Cecil, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Wicomico, and Worcester county health departments have also attained this accreditation.
“Achieving accreditation indicates that Health and Mental Hygiene is dedicated to improving and protecting the health of the community by striving to continuously improve the quality of the services it delivers,” said Ray (Bud) Nicola, MD, MHSA, chair of PHAB’s Board of Directors and affiliate professor at the University of Washington School of Public Health in Seattle. “Accreditation also promotes consistency in meeting standards. With an ever-increasing number of health departments now applying for and becoming accredited, you will be able to expect to receive the same quality of public health services wherever you go in the United States.”