Bladen County Health Department receives accreditation

ELIZABETHTOWN — Bladen County Health Department was awarded re-accreditation status on May 15 at a Local Health Department Accreditation Board Ceremony in Raleigh, NC. Cris Harrelson, Health and Human Services Agency Director accepted the award at the event.

“Receiving accreditation status is important,” said Harrelson. “It lets the citizens of Bladen County know that their local health department meets acceptable standards of professionalism, accountability, and access to care.”

North Carolina’s local health department accreditation focuses on the capacity of local health departments to perform at a prescribed, basic level of quality the three core functions of assessment, assurance, and policy development as well as the ten essential services as detailed in the National Public Health Performance Standards Program. The program focuses on a set of minimal standards that must be provided to ensure the protection of the health of the public, but does not limit the services or activities an agency may provide to address specific local needs.

The three functional components are:

— An agency self-assessment, which include 41 benchmarks and 148 activities

— A three-day site visit by a multidisciplinary team of peer volunteers

— Determination of accreditation status by the North Carolina Local Health Department Accreditation Board

Bladen County Health Department was awarded initial Accreditation in May of 2011. Accreditation status is reviewed every 4 years from the initial accreditation review.

“I would like to thank everyone involved for this accomplishment,” continued Harrelson. “From members of our Board of County Commissioners to Bladen County government staff to our community partners, this was truly a team effort.”

North Carolina’s local health departments are as varied as our state’s counties. Located in both urban and rural areas, health departments range from small community departments to large institutions, public health authorities, and district health departments. In 2002, the North Carolina Division of Public Health and North Association of Local Health Directors undertook an initiative to develop a mandatory, standards-based system for accrediting local public health departments throughout the state. Since 2002, the North Carolina Institute for Public Health (NCIPH) has provided accreditation staff supports.

Bladen County Health Department’s Accreditation Team was comprised of Cris Harrelson, Health and Human Services Agency Director; Carol Strickland, Health Educator-Accreditation Coordinator; Marianne Valentiner, Health Educator; and Kayla Brianne, Health Educator; Debra Conner, Director of Nursing; Sheila Rains, Communicable Disease Coordinator; Zuhey Padilla, Interpreter; Britt Huggins, Young Families Connect Coordinator; Djuana Register, Administrative Officer; Kory Hair, Environmental Health/Animal Control Supervisor; Karen Suggs, Animal Shelter Manager; Sally Thompson, Environmental Health Office Assistant; Shantiea Keaton, Community Assistance Program Coordinator; Rachael McKinney, WIC Coordinator; Becky Culbreth, Clerical Supervisor; and Beth Singletary, Billing Supervisor.

Special thanks to Robert Mazur, operations director, and his staff for their efforts to assist with our reaching the accreditation goals. Thanks also to Greg Martin, county manager; Maria Edwards, clerk to the Board of Commissioners; Rhunetta Brown, personnel manager; and Amy Pharr, Human Resources director. Also special thanks to our partners in Bladen. Especially Tiina Mundy, Bladen Community College, Human Resources Director and Sandra Kelly-Cain, Family Consumer Science Agent, with NC Cooperative Agency. Thanks also to the Bladen Board of Commissioners for their support through this process, especially James (Jimmy) Smith and Charles Ray Peterson for giving their time to participate in our review.