COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Three Kentucky health departments are among 11 that have recently received national accreditation.
The Kentucky Enquirer (http://bit.ly/VBkkaV) reports the recognition of the Northern Kentucky Health Department, the Franklin County Health Department in Frankfort and the Three Rivers District Health Department in Owenton means the agencies are among the best across the nation.
The departments announced last week by the national Public Health Accreditation Board were the first of hundreds of health departments seeking the status to gain it.
"With this designation we really stand out as being among the best in the nation," said Dr. Lynne M. Saddler, the Northern Kentucky department's director of health. "The public can be assured that we are providing quality public health services and using the resources we have as efficiently and wisely as we can."
The department serves nearly 400,000 residents in Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties.
The Public Health Accreditation Board said it thoroughly reviewed programs, financials, policies, management and operations and departments were required to submit hundreds of documents in a lengthy process to show that they are aligned with the agency's new national standards.
"It is a really challenging process to get through," Saddler said. "It's great to have this designation, but the work doesn't end. There are always opportunities for improvement that we will continue to work on in the coming years."
The accreditation program, which has been in the making for around 10 years, began in 2011.
"This is a truly historic moment in public health," said Public Health Accreditation Board President and CEO Kaye Bender. "With accreditation, we now have national standards that promote continuous quality improvement for public health and a mechanism for recognizing high performing public health departments."
The board says 125 health departments across the nation have applied to get accredited.
Officials said the ranking might become mandatory in the future in order to get federal funding.
"From a variety of things I've read, it does seem to indicate that funders are going to be more inclined to fund organizations that are accredited because they have a higher level of assurance that they are going to get quality services for the dollars they are investing," said Saddler.
Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.nky.com