Greene County Public Health is now one of only three local public health agencies to be accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board.
GCPH is the 25th county public health agency in Ohio to achieve the five-year accreditation from PHAB, a national nonprofit organization.
Greene’s public health agency is ahead of the curve as state law requires all local health districts to apply for PHAB accreditation by 2018 and be accredited by 2020, according to J.C. Benton, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Health.
“Requiring Ohio’s local health districts to become accredited by PHAB will demonstrate that they 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,” Benton said.
PHAB accreditation was a goal included in GCPH’s 2015 strategic plan, according to Sheryl Wynn, GCPH accreditation coordinator.
Wynn said PHAB sent a team of public health professionals in September to inspect records and operations at the agency’s facility on Wilson Road.
“As a part of the process we were assessed on both our strengths and opportunities for improvement,” Wynn said. “The team … prepared a report providing us feedback on all the documentation. The opportunities (for improvement) noted in the report will be addressed over the next five years.”
GCPH provides a variety of services including maintaining death records; Women, Infants & Children nutrition program; and Environmental Health Services.
The health department, which recently moved into a new $7.8 million facility, also is home to Five Rivers Greene County Health Center, which provides medical care for low-income residents.
To earn accreditation, Greene’s public health agency must have a community health assessment and improvement plan as well as meet or exceed standards in 12 areas. Those areas include using data to track health problems and hazards, investigate health concerns when they arise and assess capacity and access of health care services, according to PHAB.
GCPH has a staff of 76. They “have worked hard to make this day a reality,” Greene County Health Commissioner Melissa Howell said in a prepared statement.
“When you see the symbol of public health accreditation, you will know that an independent, nonprofit, non-governmental organization has closely examined our facility, procedures and reports. It means we, as an organization care enough about our residents to strive for the highest level of service and performance possible,” Howell’s statement reads.
PHAB is a nonprofit organization dedicated to “improving and protecting the health of the public by advancing and ultimately transforming the quality and performance of state, local, tribal, and territorial public health departments,” according to its website.
Two other local agencies are PHAB accredited. Public Health — Dayton & Montgomery County received PHAB accreditation in February and the Preble County Combined Health District achieved the distinction in 2016, according to PHAB.