Accreditation Readiness Resource Kit

Step 2: Application

Within a year of submitting the SOI, the Health Departments submits a formal application and related fees to PHAB. The application process includes submission of the three PHAB prerequisites: the State Health Assessment, the State Health Improvement Plan, and the Agency Strategic Plan. The application initiates the health department accreditation process. Accreditation Coordinators then attend a 2 day PHAB training, after which they can begin to submit documentation of conformity with the PHAB standards and measures.

This section includes:

  • Overview of the PHAB Pre-Requisites
  • State Health Assessment Resources
  • State Health Improvement Plan Resources
  • Agency Strategic Plan Resources

Overview of the PHAB Pre-requisites:

Once the health department submits an SOI and PHAB approves it, PHAB will give the health department access to the accreditation application in e-PHAB. The application is formal notification to PHAB of a health department’s official commitment to initiate the public health department accreditation process. The application must be submitted within a year of PHAB's approval of the SOI; if the year mark is missed, the health department must submit a new SOI. After the application is submitted and the Accreditation fees are paid, the agency Accreditation Coordinator is invited to an applicant training with PHAB, providing an overview of the accreditation process; provide training in document submission in ePHAB, and prepare the Accreditation Coordinator for the site visit.

Along with the application, three PHAB pre-requisites are submitted in e-PHAB at the same. The 3 pre-requisites are the State Health Assessment, State Health Improvement Plan, and the agency Strategic Plan. These documents lay the groundwork for health department programs, policies, and interventions. These three documents must be dated within the last five years.

The 3 prerequisites are all interconnected: the State Health Assessment informs the development of the State Health Improvement Plan which informs the development of the agency Strategic Plan. In addition to being pre-requisites the State Health Assessment, State Health Improvement Plan and agency Strategic Plan are required documents for the Standards and Measures. The State Health Assessment is evaluated in Domain 1 and the State Health Improvement Plan and agency Strategic Plan are evaluated in Domain 5.


State Health Assessment Resources:

The purpose of the State Health Assessment (SHA) is to learn about the state. The SHA provides information to the health department about the health of the population, contributing factors to higher health risks or poorer health outcomes of identified populations, and community resources available to improve the health status. SHAs describe the health of the population, identify areas for health improvement, identify contributing factors that impact health outcomes, and identify community assets and resources that can be mobilized to improve population health.

According to the PHAB Standards and Measures (Measure 1.1.2 S), “the state level community health assessment provides and foundation for efforts to improve the health of the population. It is a basis for setting priorities, planning, program development, funding applications, coordination of resources, and new ways to collaboratively use assets to improve the health of the population.”

The health department must develop the SHA using a systematic collection and analysis of data and information to provide a sound basis for decision-making and action. SHAs are conducted in partnership with other organizations and members of the community and include data and information on demographics; socioeconomic characteristics; quality of life; community resources; behavioral factors; the environment; morbidity and mortality; and other social, Tribal, community, or state determinants of health status. The findings of the SHA will be the basis for development of the State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP).


State Health Improvement Planning Resources:

The State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) is a long-term systematic plan to address the priorities and issues identified in the SHA. The purpose of the SHIP is to describe how the health department and the community it serves will work together to improve the health of the population of the state. The community, stakeholders, and partners can use a solid SHIP to set priorities, direct the use of resources, and develop and implement projects, programs, and policies.

According to the PHAB Standards and Measures (Measure 5.2.2 S), “The State Health Improvement Plan provides guidance to the health department, its partners, and stakeholders for improving health of the population within the health department’s jurisdiction. The plan reflects the results of a participatory learning process that includes significant involved by key sectors. Partners can use a solid state health improvement plan to prioritize existing activities and set new priorities.”

The development and implementation of the plan must include participation of a broad set of community stakeholders and partners. Strategies included in the plan must be evidence based or promising practices, referencing national state of the art guidance, including the National Prevention Strategy, Guide to Community Preventive Services, and Healthy People 2020).


Agency Strategic Planning Resources:

Strategic planning is a process for defining and determining an agency’s roles, priorities, and direction over three to five years. A strategic plan sets forth what an agency plans to achieve, how it will achieve it, and how it will know if it has achieved it. The strategic plan provides a guide for making decisions on allocating resources and on taking action to pursue strategies and priorities.

According to the PHAB Standards and Measures (Measure 5.3.1 A), “a functional strategic plan requires that it be understood by staff and implemented by the health department. The development of such a plan requires a planning process that considers opinions and knowledge from across the health department, assesses the larger environment in which the health department operates, uses its organizational strengths and addresses its weaknesses, links to the health improvement plan that has been adopted by the community, and links to the health department’s quality improvement plan.”