A collaborative study including Dr. Gulzar Shah, associate dean of research at the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University, examines Public Health Agencies’ Level of Engagement in and Perceived Barriers to PHAB National Voluntary Accreditation. This study examines local health departments’ (LHDs’) and state health agencies’ (SHAs’) engagement, LHDs’ perceived barriers, and factors associated with level of engagement in accreditation. The study design is observational, cross-sectional, and based on census design surveys of all state and local health departments. The most frequently reported reasons for LHDs not pursuing accreditation were the time/effort required for accreditation exceeding the benefits (72 percent), the fee being too high (54 percent), and the standards exceeding the capacity of their LHD (39 percent).
Accreditation is expected to provide pathways to accountability, consistency, and better fit between community needs and public health services. National strategies targeting rapid diffusion of accreditation among public health agencies should include elements that address the needs of LHDs with varying degrees of intent to pursue accreditation.