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After initial accreditation - The PHAB Annual ReportBackground: Cobb & Douglas Public Health (CDPH) was the first health district in Georgia to achieve accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) (accredited on May 12, 2015). Since then, two additional health districts, DeKalb (3-5) and Gwinnett, Newton, and Rockdale County Health Departments (3-4), have achieved accreditation. Efforts are underway among health districts statewide to become accredited, yet, little is known about life after accreditation. This presentation will highlight CDPH’s approach to submitting the PHAB Annual Report, which is required of health departments in order to maintain their accreditation status. Methods: CDPH will provide an overview of the PHAB Annual Report process and requirements. We will also share the process we used to construct a one-year timeline to prepare for the submission of the Annual Report and organize the Accreditation Team. CDPH will also provide a preview of the electronic submission process using ePHAB. Finally, CDPH will share tips, including lessons learned while preparing and submitting the Annual Report during July-August 2016. We will also discuss our experiences since submission and feedback received from PHAB’s Evaluation and Quality Improvement Committee. Results: CDPH will share knowledge and experiences related to the submission and feedback received of its first PHAB Annual Report, which was submitted August 2016. Conclusions: Health departments devote a tremendous amount of time, money, and energy to become accredited; however, the journey continues through the submission of PHAB Annual Progress Reports and reaccreditation planning.
Fulfilling community health assessment requirements: Lessons learned from facilitating state-wide community health forumsBackground: A prerequisite for National Public Health Accreditation is completion of a Community Health Assessment (CHA) that presents an exhaustive profile of the population served by a particular public health agency. Methods: The Georgia Department of Public Health (GA DPH) contracted with the Center for Public Health Practice and Research at Georgia Southern University to facilitate five state-wide community health forums. Results: Evaluation of the forums yielded qualitative data illustrating current challenges faced by Georgians, as well as assets that could be leveraged to improve health status. Conclusion: Lessons learned from these state-wide community health forums can be applied to improve the overall process of gathering data for a comprehensive CHA throughout Georgia or other areas interested in pursuing public health agency accreditation.
A multi-county health district’s journey to accreditation: The challenges and benefitsBackground: In September 2011, the Gwinnett, Newton, and Rockdale Health Departments began to discuss accreditation. We regarded accreditation as a way to highlight our strengths and identify areas for quality and performance improvement as well as an opportunity to improve our capacity for greater accountability, increased efficiency and improved process flow. We further viewed it as a means to successfully carry out our mission, and effectively deliver the core functions and ten essential public health services. Methods:With financial backing from Healthcare Georgia Foundation and technical assistance from Georgia Southern University, the Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County Health Departments began its pursuit of accreditation by assessing department processes, policies, and procedures for alignment to the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) standards. This resulted in identified areas for improvement and needed policy and procedure development. The Model for Improvement was actively used throughout our pursuit of accreditation, and we viewed the process as several inter- related plan, do, check, act (PDCA) cycles. After being advised on several options, we changed our application from multi-jurisdictional to a local health district based on guidance from PHAB for all the health districts in Georgia. Domain leads were assigned; these later developed into domain teams comprised of individuals with expertise in various relevant areas. The teams met on a regular basis to review domain documentation and to discuss the ‘story’ it tells about our department. We prepared for the site visit by conducting a mock site visit using local PHAB site visitors. This experience was extremely helpful in calming the participant staff and identifying areas that we could improve. Results: After several iterations of guidance from PHAB on how we should apply we applied as a local public health district. With feedback from our mock site visit we were able to prepare for and successfully complete our site visit with no request to reopen any measures. We received a stellar site visit report with 93% of the measures scored ‘fully demonstrated’ and 7% scored ‘largely demonstrated’. Our department was accredited on August 17, 2016 as the 3rd accredited health district in the State of Georgia. Conclusions: The process of pursuing accreditation has been a challenge on various fronts; from indecision about how we should apply, to uncertainty about interpretation of the standards, to hesitance about choosing county-specific or departmental documentation. However, the culture of quality and solidified community partnerships that resulted from this process are invaluable.
The state of accreditation readiness in Georgia: A case studyBackground: Georgia’s public health districts first began exploring the idea of national public health accreditation in 2008 when Cobb & Douglas Public Health included accreditation in their strategic plan. In May 2015, Cobb & Douglas Public Health was the first Georgia public health district to achieve national accreditation status. This article discusses the current state of accreditation readiness in Georgia and explores strengths and barriers to accreditation. Methods: This study utilized a case study approach in order to examine PHAB accreditation efforts in Georgia within a real-life context. Data came from three sources: nine Accreditation Readiness Assessments, a PHAB Pre-Application Technical Assistance Survey, and state-wide Accreditation Readiness Survey. Results: The Accreditation Readiness Assessments resulted in several lessons learned about common strengths and barriers to accreditation. Strengths included a dedicated staff and supportive Boards of Health. Barriers included accreditation fees and a lack of personnel time. The PHAB Pre-application TA Survey revealed that the majority of those surveyed would recommend TA to other agencies pursuing PHAB accreditation (91%). The Accreditation Readiness Survey revealed that 14 of 18 GA public health districts are either PHAB accredited (1 district), actively pursuing PHAB accreditation (2 districts), or planning to apply (11 districts). This includes 116 of the 159 Georgia counties (73%). Conclusions: The results of this case study show that 72% of Georgia’s public health districts are engaged in accreditation-related activities. This includes activities such as accreditation readiness assessment, community health assessment, QI council and plan development, strategic planning, and policy review.