249894 Does Local Public Health Department Accreditation in North Carolina have a Positive Impact on Emergency Preparedness: Conclusions from the NACCHO Profiles

Monday, October 31, 2011

John B. Wayne, PhD , College of Public Health, Univ of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR
Glen Mays, PhD, MPH , College of Public Health, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Mary Davis, Dr PH, MSPH , North Carolina Institute for Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillins School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC
Cammie Marti, BSN, MPH, PhD , College of Public Health, Univ of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR
James H. Bellamy, CNMT, MPH , Division of Nuclear Medicine Imaging Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR
Brittan Williams-Wood, MPH , North Carolina Institute for Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Local public health departments (LPHDs) occupy pivotal positions within the nation's emergency preparedness (EP) and response systems because of their statutory authority to perform public health (PH) functions and their ability to coordinate the PH actions of many other organizations. Accreditation of PH agencies is important because of its potential to promote consistency in PH practice. This study assesses the impact of the state-based PH accreditation program in North Carolina on local EP capabilities. The 2005/2008 NACCHO National Profiles, the Area Resource File, and locally collected information are the data sources. 80 of 85 NC LPHDs who responded to both the 2005-08 NACCHO profiles (10 accredited in/before 2005, and 43 in/before 2008) are compared to a national comparison group (n=247) selected using propensity-score matching techniques. EP outcomes include: Developing a plan; Legal review; Participation in drills; Assessing competencies; and Providing training. In 2005 NC-accredited LPHDs were more likely to have performed all EP activities and were significantly more likely to assess EP-competencies and have a legal review of the EP-plan (p < 0.05). Longitudinal results show preparedness decreasing for some measures. However, for the NC-LPHDs who were “not-accredited in 05 but would be accredited in 2008,” preparedness capabilities increased. Further, of eight EP-Composite-Measures, accredited NC-LPHDs had higher scores for most domains, including: Surveillance & Investigation, Plans & Protocols, and Workforce & Volunteers. While NACCHO measures of EP need to be augmented and variability exists, the results suggest the NC accreditation program has a positive impact on preparedness capabilities of LPHAs. Structural and organizational attributes of LPHAs that influence their preparedness capabilities and accreditation outcomes will be presented.

Learning Areas:
Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to: 1)Identify the Emergency Preparedness indicators included in the NACCHO Profile surveys and additional composite measures of preparedness capabilities. 2) Discuss emergency preparedness variation between accredited and non-accredited local public health agencies within North Carolina and a national comparison group. 3) Understand the potential positive impacts an accreditation program may have on emergency preparedness capabilities.

Keywords: Accreditation, Performance Measures

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: College of Public Health faculty member in Health Policy and Management for 30 years with expoertise and research experience in emergency preparedness, public health accreditation, public health systems, and public health finance.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.