LAURINBURG — Officials at the Scotland County Health Department have something to brag about.
The county Health Department has been awarded the status of re-accreditation along with 10 other health departments by the North Carolina Local Health Department Accreditation Board. The designation is good for the next four years.
“I’m very pleased with the results and proud of the staff who worked so hard to make sure the department was re-acredited,” said Kristen Patterson, the new Health Department director.
Patterson said the purpose of the accreditation program is to assure a basic level of capacity and services in each of the local health departments across the state.
“This means that our programs are up-to-date and we are functuioning to the state standards,” Patterson said. “We encourage the public to access care here because they are going to get exceptional care.”
According to Amy Belflower-Thomas, accreditation administrator at the North Carolina Institute for Public Health, the process 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 review by an independent accreditation board comprised of state and local health officials, board of health members, county commissioners and the public.
“All of the agencies recently achieving re-accreditation have much to be proud of,” Belflower-Thomas said. “These health departments have not only demonstrated their ability to meet a set of important performance standards, but excelled in many areas. Through re-accreditation, these agencies demonstrate a strong commitment to continuously work to improve the quality of services provided to their respective communities.”
The North Carolina 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), the North Carolina Association of Local Health Directors, and the North Carolina Division of Public Health of the NC Department of Health and Human Services.
North Carolina is the first state in the country to mandate accreditation for its local health departments. Since a pilot program involving six local health departments began in 2004, all 85 health departments have been accredited in the state.
Reach Scott Witten at 910-506-3023