1/9/2014 2:18:00 PM Yavapai County Public Health Department works toward accreditation
By Tamara Sone Contributing Reporter
YAVAPAI COUNTY - Just a week in, the Yavapai County Public Health Department is well on their way to completing one of their 2014 goals.
The department has been working on achieving accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) since late 2012, according to Assistant Director Nathan Peterson.
On Dec. 16, county supervisors approved, 4-0 with Supervisor Jack Smith absent, the department's request to move forward with the accreditation process.
"The accreditation will give the ability to hire and educate existing staff for new technologies in health care," Supervisor Thomas Thurman said. "As well as improve the quality of health care and quantity of patients."
"It would also be a feather in the cap and would be additional recognition of the quality service provided by Yavapai County Health Services to our citizens," added Supervisor Craig Brown.
Formed in May 2007, PHAB is a nonprofit organization out of Virginia dedicated to advancing the continuous quality improvement of tribal, state, local, and territorial public health departments, according to the organization's website, www.phaboard.org. A Board of Directors comprised of public health practitioners, administrators, researchers, and academicians governs the organization.
According to Peterson, the accreditation process can take up to two years to complete. The department is working to achieve accreditation by December 2014.
Some of the benefits that accreditation offers are:
Improved staff morale and visibility;
Increased credibility for the department as well as transparency;
The chance to align with the growing trend towards public health department accreditation;
The opportunity to receive valuable feedback about the department's strengths and areas where they need improvement.
The cost for the county to become accredited is roughly $32,000, Peterson said. However, the cost for accreditation will be covered by funds received from the Arizona Department of Health Services.
The accreditation is good for five years, Peterson said. Once the five years are up, the county has to reapply and repeat the accreditation process.
Currently, 22 counties across the country have achieved accreditation through PHAB. There are no accredited health departments in Arizona at this time.
"I don't know if we will be the first," Peterson said. "Pima County is making some decent progress, Maricopa County is making decent progress, but we should be in the first cohort of accredited departments in Arizona."
For more information on programs and services offered by the Yavapai County Public Health Department, visit their website at www.yavapaihealth.com.