01/22/04 — Pilot accreditation program

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Pilot accreditation program

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on January 22, 2004 2:02 PM

Wayne County is one of six counties chosen to participate in a pilot accreditation program for health departments. And by 2005, the health director says, all public health agencies must be accredited.

James Roosen talked about public health system reform in North Carolina during the Board of Health meeting on Wednesday. He said changes need to take place to make the departments more effective and more uniform.

"There have been several attempts to streamline how public health services are delivered in the last 15 years," he said. "Now there are some legislative mandates that will require us to march to a different beat."

He said that from now until April, the Health Department will participate in the pilot program. A report on public health in the six counties will then be made for review by the General Assembly in May.

Called the Missouri Local Public Health Agency Accreditation Program, the model was chosen because the public health program there is structured very similarly to the one in Wayne County, Roosen said.

A self-assessment site visit will be made to Wayne County and the accreditation board is also expected to observe how things are run.

"I can't venture any information about how well-situated Wayne County is," said Roosen, who became Health Director four months ago. "I know that we do an excellent job with internal policies."

Roosen said the accreditation process is mandated by legislators in accordance with Senate Bill 672. One of the bill's stipulations is that by January 1, 2005 all public health agencies shall be accredited.

He said the department is preparing to launch a comprehensive community health assessment.

He said it has been suggested that surveys be sent out to the general public but for now the department is working with data that is already on hand.

"We'll be developing the basic structure and share it with WATCH, county commissioners, and Board of Health to get some guidance with what data we need to get in terms of a direction," he said.