Ohio’s 113 local health districts can help protect and improve the health of their communities is by providing the quality public health services that residents expect and deserve. Accreditation by the national Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) demonstrates that health districts are meeting or exceeding a common set of national standards; have the capacity to provide core public health services; and are continually striving to improve service, value and accountability to stakeholders. National accreditation is validation that a public health department is capable of providing public health services at an appropriate scale for its community and has the capability to help improve population health.
The Ohio Department of Health received PHAB accreditation in November 2015 (read announcement here). Twenty-six of Ohio’s local health districts are now nationally accredited, and many more are in process.
History of the Legislative Committee on Public Health Futures
In June 2012, Ohio Governor John R. Kasich and the Ohio General Assembly established the Legislative Committee on Public Health Futures. The committee was tasked with reviewing the June 2012 report of the Public Health Futures Project Steering Committee of the Association of Ohio Health Commissioners (AOHC) and developing recommendations for legislative and fiscal policies that would improve local public health services in Ohio. On October 31, 2012, the legislative committee presented recommendations in a report, including the requirement that that all local health districts meet PHAB eligibility within five years.
Recognizing the benefits of PHAB accreditation, the 130th Ohio General Assembly in 2013 codified the authority for the Director of Health to require all local health districts to apply for accreditation by 2018 and to become accredited by 2020. PHAB accreditation is supported by national public health organizations, including the American Public Health Association, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Association of Local Boards of Health, and National Association of County and City Health Officials.
In June 2015, legislation was signed into law re-establishing the Legislative Committee on Public Health Futures. The reestablished committee was charged with reviewing the previous reports, the effectiveness of the recommendations that have been implemented, and proposing new policy recommendations. The reestablished committee released its findings to Governor Kasich and the Ohio General Assembly in September, 2017.
- 2012 Association of Ohio Health Commissioners Report
- 2012 Legislative Committee Report
- 2017 Legislative Committee Report
The original Legislative Committee on Public Health Futures recommended that the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and local health districts create a standardized process for data collection and identification of common public health indicators to include quality, quantity, comparables and efficiency. The purpose of the data tool was to provide opportunities for public health to demonstrate outcomes and improve quality.
The legislature codified the recommendation in 2013. Ohio Revised Code section 3701.98 requires ODH to establish a standardized process by which all general and city health districts shall collect and report to the director information regarding public health quality indicators, and policy and procedures for sharing the data with payers, providers, general and city health districts, and public health professionals. Administrative rules for the public health quality indicators were adopted Ohio Administrative Code section 3701-36-05 and became effective July 1, 2014.
- 2015 Public Health Quality Indicators Report
- 2017 Public Health Quality Indicators Report
- 2018 Public Health Quality Indicators Report
The state has invested financial resources to support local health departments on their path to accreditation, and ODH also offers technical assistance. The Ohio Local Public Health Accreditation Support Project provides training and technical assistance to local health departments as they pursue national public health accreditation. The accreditation support project contributes to research of best practices for accreditation readiness and successful completion of accreditation requirements. The project has provided assistance to numerous local health departments addressing accreditation topics such as quality improvement, performance management, strategic planning, workforce development and access to care.
Accreditation resources include a performance management website, accreditation documentation repository, updated quality improvement planning template and a project website with easy access to national accreditation resources. ODH supported the creation of a new accreditation networking forum for local health departments – an Accredited Community of Practice administered by the Ohio Public Health Association – as well as the continuation of an Accreditation Learning Community administered by the Ohio Public Health Partnership. More information about the Ohio Local Public Health Accreditation Support Project is available on the project’s website: OSU – Ohio Local Public Health Accreditation Support Project
The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) also provides accreditation support. More information can be found on their website: Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) – Accreditation and Performance