Newsroom > DHHS News Release

For Immediate Release
April 7, 2016

Contact Leah Bucco-White, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-9356 or leah.bucco-white@nebraska.gov

DHHS Spotlights State and Local Accreditation Efforts
During Public Health Week 

Lincoln—The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health is challenging itself to become a nationally accredited state health department and join 16 other states that have already achieved accreditation. 

“Accreditation is a key driver for public health departments to continuously improve their performance and the quality of the public health services they deliver to help people live better and healthier lives,” said Courtney Phillips, DHHS CEO. “Applying for accreditation alone is a major undertaking and we’re definitely seeing a benefit from going through the process.”

“This is such an exciting time for public health in Nebraska,” said Dr. Brandon Grimm, President of the Public Health Association of Nebraska. “We have officially passed the infancy stages of our growth and the accreditation of health departments is our evidence.  National accreditation will raise the credibility and accountability of the public health system in the state.”

To prepare for accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board, DHHS’ Division of Public Health implemented several performance and quality improvement strategies. Stakeholder input resulted in a State Health Improvement Plan, Division Strategic Plan and Quality Improvement Plan.  In the fourth year of implementation of the five-year State Health Improvement Plan or SHIP, Nebraska has already accomplished almost 70 percent of the activities identified to help improve the health and quality of life for Nebraskans like expanding cancer screening programs and the number of worksite wellness programs in the state. 

This year, DHHS’ Division of Public Health is again serving as the catalyst for the development and implementation of the next Nebraska State Health Improvement Plan. The Division is gathering input from customers, communities and organizations from across the state, and analyzing existing health data to develop priorities and strategies to improve the health of Nebraskans. 

Public health accreditation efforts are happening across the entire state public health system, which extends far beyond the walls of the DHHS.  East Central District Health Department became the first public health department in Nebraska to achieve accreditation late last month. 

“We are so pleased to be the first of what we hope will be many departments in Nebraska to achieve accreditation,” said Executive Director Rebecca J. Rayman. “Accreditation is possible and worthwhile for rural health departments. Going through the process has made us more community focused, more aware of our documentation, and has improved our services.”

DHHS’ Division of Public Health is strongly committed to achieving accreditation, as well as providing support to local health departments interested in going through the accreditation process. DHHS is currently awaiting notice from the Public Health Accreditation Board on the status of its accreditation.

Public health departments play a critical role in protecting and improving the health of people and communities Across Nebraska, health departments provide a range of services aimed at promoting healthy behaviors; preventing diseases and injuries; ensuring access to safe food, water, clean air and life-saving immunizations; and preparing for and responding to natural disasters and public health emergencies.

To learn more about public health accreditation, go to http://www.phaboard.org/.

 

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