The Alexander County Health Department, along with ten other North Carolina health departments, was recently awarded “reaccreditation with honors” status by the North Carolina Local Health Department Accreditation (NCLHDA) Board.
The six-year reaccreditation process and on-site survey came after a two-year delay as the result of the Covid-19 pandemic. During the six-year period covered by the survey, Alexander County Health Department, along with many public health agencies across the state, worked diligently to care for the public during the coronavirus health crisis, continue the provision of essential health services to the community, and mitigate the challenges of staff turnover associated with the pandemic.
“All of the agencies recently achieving reaccreditation have much to be proud of. They have not only demonstrated their ability to meet a set of important performance standards but excelled in many areas. Through reaccreditation, these agencies demonstrate a strong commitment to continuously work to improve the quality of services provided to their respective communities,” said Amy Belflower Thomas, NC Local Health Department Accreditation Administrator.
The “reaccreditation with honors” designation was awarded to Alexander County Health Department and ten other agencies. This honorary designation was implemented for the first time in the Fall of 2017 to recognize agencies that especially excelled in their accreditation assessment by missing one or less activities within each of the standards set by the NCLHDA program. The program is especially pleased to see that this special recognition was achieved by such a diverse group of local health departments. Alexander County Health Department earned the designation by missing no activities in any of the standards for reaccreditation.
“The Alexander County Health Department team is pleased to have earned the designation of reaccreditation with honors,” said Billie Walker, Health Director for Alexander County. “The past few years have been extremely challenging for everyone, especially those working in public health. To earn the honors designation in any year is quite an accomplishment; however, to earn it following the unprecedented health crisis of Covid demonstrates the unwavering commitment to the health of Alexander County that our team lives by each and every day.”
North Carolina is the first state in the country to mandate accreditation for its local health departments. The purpose of the accreditation program is to ensure a basic level of capacity and services in each of the local health departments across the state.
The process of accreditation includes three major components – a self-assessment completed by the agency, a site visit by a multidisciplinary team of peers to review performance standards, and a determination of accreditation status by an independent accreditation board comprised of state and local public health officials, board of health members, county commissioners, and public members.
The NC Local Health Department Accreditation program is a collaboration of the North Carolina Institute for Public Health (part of the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and the North Carolina Association of Local Health Directors.