According to Ohio law, all local health departments must be accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) by July 2020. There are a number of steps to go through in order for this to be done.
The first two steps are registration and application that the Meigs County Health Department (MCHD) completed in December 2017. This allowed me, as the Accreditation Coordinator, to attend a two-day mandatory training at the PHAB office in Alexandria, Virginia in February. Day one included discussion about the rest of the steps in the Accreditation process.
Step three is selection and submission of required documentation. The MCHD has been working for two years to complete eight required plans and collect as much documentation as possible. The plans and documentation will be submitted to the e-PHAB (electronic) system to be reviewed by an assigned Accreditation Specialist and a three-member site visit team.
Step four is the site visit, which is a two-day event including a walk-through of the facility and interviews with staff, Board of Health members, and community partners. The site visitors will be able to ask questions and check the accuracy of the documentation that has been given to them.
Step five is the Accreditation decision. Health departments are either accredited for five years or not accredited. If not accredited, the health department has an opportunity to submit an action plan. If the action plan is approved by the Accreditation committee, and the health department is able to show significant improvement, they could become accredited. Failure to submit an action plan will result in the health department not being accredited.
Step six are Annual Reports that must be submitted to show progress and improvement. The final step is Reaccreditation.
Day two of the training gave us an opportunity to practice submitting documentation into the e-PHAB system. In addition, we had an opportunity to meet our Accreditation Specialist who will guide us through the process.
Now that the training is over, I will complete an evaluation of the training and then be granted access to the e-PHAB system. With that access, we have exactly one year to submit all the required documentation.
If you have any questions about the Accreditation process, you can contact me at the Meigs County Health Department at (740)992-6626.
Michelle Willard is the administrative assistant for the Meigs County Health Department.