Updated: November 22, 2013 5:25PM
The Kane County Health Department is the first department in the state and among only 22 in the country to receive national public health department five-year accreditation status through the Public Health Accreditation Board.
The accreditation was announced Friday in a release from the department.
To receive accreditation, a health department must undergo a rigorous, multi-faceted, peer-reviewed process to ensure it meets or exceeds a set of quality standards and measures, the release said.
Hundreds of health departments are preparing to seek national accreditation through the program, which launched in September 2011 after more than a decade in development. So far only 22 health departments have been granted accreditation status, out of a total of more than 3,000 in the U.S.
“Accreditation is the gold standard for health departments and demonstrates our commitment to providing quality services and better serving our community,” Health Department Executive Director Barbara Jeffers said in the release.
“National accreditation signifies the incredible efforts the Kane County Health Department puts forth every day to improve and protect the health of the public. Achieving accreditation opens the door to a number of benefits, including increased credibility, accountability, and possible funding advantages. Having reached this milestone will provide us with valuable, measurable feedback to further our commitment to continuous improvement.”
“The Kane County Health Department is one of the first of many health departments that we look forward to being able to recognize as a high-performing public health department,” said Accreditation Board president and CEO Kaye Bender. “The peer review process provides valuable feedback to inform health departments of their strengths and areas for improvement, so that they can better protect and promote the health of the people they serve in their communities.”
While public health departments provide expert leadership in protecting and promoting the health of people in communities across the country, there has not been a set of nationally recognized standards until now, according to the release. The Public Health Accreditation Board was established in 2007 to serve as the national public health accrediting body, and is jointly funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The development of national public health accreditation has involved, and is supported by, public health leaders and practitioners from the national, Tribal, state and local levels, the release said.
More information about accreditation is available on the Health Department website at www.kanehealth.com/accreditation.htm and the Accreditation Board website at www.phaboard.org.