The goal of the voluntary national accreditation program is to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing the quality and performance of Tribal, state, local, and territorial public health departments.
The Texas Public Health Association (TPHA) has been a strong supporter and promoter of local health department accreditation for many years. The state of Texas has a decentralized public health system with various sizes, capacities and scope of services. Due to this diversity, accreditation training and support in Texas cannot be a “one size fits all” approach. In this coming year, the association will continue the approach of listening to the health departments and designing various approaches to promote, support and train local health departments as they prepare for accreditation. TPHA intends to use group settings at the TPHA Annual Education Conference which will reach a large number of health department at one time, a webinar series which will also reach to health departments who cannot meet with the training team or attend the AEC. Our training team this year will consist of accreditation involved staff from three health departments in Texas, Houston, Tarrant County and Austin-Travis County. All will be involved at the AEC and the Houston Staff will be the trainers for the webinars and individualized trainings.
In a collaborative effort the University of North Texas Health Science Center School of Public, with funding from the Department of State Health Services, and support from the Texas Association of Local Health Officials, has collected and organized the most valuable accreditation resources and made that information available in one place!
The Accreditation Toolkit has a variety of resources that will be helpful to health departments of all sizes and at all stages of readiness. Some of the tools included are links to videos, presentations, training materials, how-to guides, funding information, and articles that provide insight and information about the accreditation process.
The resources are divided into the following categories:
- 13 Steps to Accreditation Success
- Benefits of National Accreditation
- Presentations and Training Materials
- Accreditation Basics
- CHA/CHIP, and ASP Resources
- Documentation Resources
- Cost and Funding Information
In 2007 the Texas Association of Local Health Officials (TALHO) convened an "Accreditation Committee" to examine the feasibility and interest in pursuing local public health accreditation. The committee reviewed activities such as the Multi-state Learning Collaborative (MLC), hosted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the development of the Public Health Accreditation Board and currently held accreditation programs in other states.
Broad discussions were held as the committee reviewed the accreditation activities. One particular local MLC accreditation project stood out: Missouri. It addressed both urban and rural local public health. It had a large diversity in scope and scale of departmental structures. Significant work had been accomplished including currently accredited departments. This was a scalable accreditation depending on size and interest with reasonable implementation costs and a transparent process to duplicate.
After careful review of Missouri's example, it was decided that a formal, independently driven accreditation council was needed in Texas. The council developed "Final Recommendations" for how to implement accreditation in Texas. The committee discussed potential sponsors, created the structure for a Texas PHAB-like organization, and continued to follow other practices occurring across the USA.
A new model reflective of the structure in Texas was necessary. The committee created the outline for a Public Health Accreditation Council of Texas (PHACT), with the intent that council members would represent many statewide partners with shared interests in public health.
In 2008, PHACT was born and currently has 13 voting members on the council representing the following stakeholder group:
Schools of Public Health (1)
Local Health Departments (6)
Texas Association of Local Health Officials (1)
Texas Department of State Health Services (2)
Texas Public Health Association (1)
Texas Health Institute (1)
Texas Medical Association (1)