Project Description

”Being accredited assures that we are not stagnant but instead ever-evolving with the changing environment to ensure the public health needs of those we are here to serve are met.”

Accreditation Assures Bloomfield, New Jersey, Residents That Their Health Department is Efficient, Effective and Valuable

By Jill Scarpa, MPH, HO, REHS

Bloomfield Department of Health and Human Services, as a result of the PHAB accreditation process, has a performance management and quality improvement system in place that is highly effective. This allows us to much more readily identify areas for improvement in our services, programs, projects, processes, policies and plans. Our department, with guidance from the Accreditation Committee, has developed a framework to systematically monitor and report on progress towards our performance measures. This permits timely improvements and modifications to be made to our programs and services, allowing for greater effectiveness, efficiency and quality.

A vital component of our continuous quality improvement culture, which has resulted from the accreditation process, is the various department-wide tracking tools we have created and utilized to monitor and report on our performance measures. For instance, we have created and implemented a data management spreadsheet to streamline monthly or quarterly reporting of all of our organizational objectives and performance measures, which aids in ensuring alignment of our plans –namely our Strategic Plan, Community Health Improvement Plan, Quality Improvement Plan and, subsequently, our Workforce Development Plan. Additionally, project tracking worksheets are used to monitor our quality improvement projects while work plans are used to monitor our progress on performance measures in our Strategic Plan and Community Health Improvement Plan. Such tools are instrumental in ensuring department-wide, continuous quality improvements are made and, in turn, assist us in providing the highest quality of services for our stakeholders.

Since starting accreditation, and as part of our Quality Improvement Plan, each division of the Bloomfield Department of Health and Human Services conducts at least one annual quality improvement project that employs the Plan-Do-Check-Act model. These projects are selected based on our continuous and systematic data review and have resulted in documented improvements. Included in these improvements is an eighteen percent increase in timely BOH license renewals and a nineteen percent decrease in quality of life complaints received. Furthermore, in adherence with PHAB measures, soliciting external stakeholder input is essential in our improvement projects wherever applicable. For example, the aforementioned increase in timely Board of Health license renewals is the result of improvements made to the process based on data findings from a survey of retail food establishment owners in our community.

The PHAB accreditation process undoubtedly makes us a much more efficient, effective and valuable health department. Being accredited assures that we are not stagnant but instead ever evolving with the changing environment to ensure the public health needs of those we are here to serve are met. Our community can be confident that the Bloomfield Department of Health and Human Services delivers high quality, highly relevant and effective public health services and programs, which is why–without a doubt–Accreditation Works!

Bloomfield Department of Health and Human Services was awarded national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board on November 10, 2015.

About the author: Jill Scarpa, MPH, HO, REHS, is Assistant Health Officer and Accreditation Coordinator at Township of Bloomfield Department of Health & Human Services in Bloomfield, New Jersey. Contact her at [email protected].

Other major benefits gained as a result of going through the accreditation process:

  • We have increased and improved community partnerships with identified public, private and non-profit agencies to plan, implement and monitor progress towards our department’s health promotion strategies in our Community Health Improvement Plan.

  • We have increased and improved partnerships with community stakeholders to more effectively reach populations that experience cultural and language barriers to health care services and programs.

  • We now more fully engage and extend our reach into the community to identify public health needs, especially for those who experience barriers, and in planning and implementing programs and services to address those identified needs.

  • We have increased and improved methods to distribute materials to the Bloomfield community to increase awareness of public health services, programs and other public health matters.

  • We have increased and improved collaborations with colleges and have enhanced our public health internship program.

  • Since being accredited we have applied for and have been a recipient of more grants than before and are better equipped to more efficiently and effectively utilize those funds to benefit stakeholders.