Health departments in N. Ky. and Franklin County are among the first 11 in the nation to be accredited, a milestone in public health

Three Kentucky departments are among the first 11 in the nation to receive accreditation from the national Public Health Accreditation Board, which announced the achievements Thursday.

The Franklin County Health Department, the Three Rivers District Health Department in Carroll, Gallatin, Owen and Pendleton counties, and the Northern Kentucky Independent District Health Department, in Boone, Grant, Kenton and Campbell counties received five-year accreditation.

“I am proud of the departments achieving this public health milestone of national accreditation,” said board Chair Dr. Douglas Scutchfield, professor of health services research and policy at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health. “Before now, there has not been a national system for health departments to demonstrate accountability and quality to their community.”

Scutchfield said accreditation means a department is providing a “high quality of public health service, leadership and accountability to its constituents,” and is a clear indication of the departments’ “passion and dedication to improving and protecting the health” of the community.

The board, funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has received 128 total applications for accreditation: 112 from local health departments, 15 from state departments; and one tribal department.

In addition to the three Kentucky departments that have received accreditation, other Kentucky departments have applied and are awaiting site visits. Those are the Lexington-Fayette County, Barren River District, Madison County and Christian County health departments, said Jill Midkiff, chief spokesperson for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Although accreditation is completely voluntary, it is being encouraged for local health departments by the state Department for Public Health, which is in the process of applying for its own accreditation in 2014. Midkiff said the department just completed its state health assessment, which is now being reviewed, and is beginning to assemble partners to write a state health improvement plan, which should take about a year. (Click here to learn more about accreditation)

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