Click here for a comprehensive timeline of Michigan Local Public Health Accreditation development.  


Developing and Implementing the Accreditation Program: The Pilot Process

In September 1996, the Michigan Association for Local Public Health, with administrative support from the Michigan Public Health Institute, convened an 18-member Accreditation Steering Committee comprised of representatives from local health departments and the Michigan Association of Counties, Michigan Department of Agriculture, Michigan Department of Community Health, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and the University of Michigan School of Public Health.  The Steering Committee was responsible for identifying the structure of the accreditation process; developing the necessary assessment tools; overseeing pilot testing of the tool; and refining the assessment tools

Over an eight-month period, the Accreditation Steering Committee reviewed accreditation literature; examined the experiences of other states with local health department accreditation processes (such as, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and North Carolina); and consulted with national accrediting organizations (such as the Community Health Accreditation Program).  After completing this exhaustive research, the Committee concluded that a two-step accreditation process that includes an internal self-assessment followed an on-site review would be most appropriate.  (The Self-Assessment Tool is contained in this binder.)

The pilot Self-Assessment Tool developed by the Accreditation Steering Committee was released to the public health community and other interested parties for broad comment in April 1997.  The Accreditation Steering Committee reviewed the responses and revised the Tool as appropriate. 

The accreditation process was then piloted at four local health departments prior to statewide implementation.  The objectives of the pilot process were as follows: 

  • Are accreditation tools comprehensive and functional?

  • How can the tools be improved?

  • How can the process be improved?

  • How is the process completed by LHDs?

  • How much time is needed to complete the process?

  • What are the costs of the process?

The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph District Health Department, Kalamazoo County Human Services Department, Greater Thumb Community Health Department, and the Marquette County Health Department generously agreed to serve as the pilot sites.  These sites were selected because they represented different organizational structures (i.e., district versus single county) and different geographic considerations (i.e., urban versus rural).

The pilot sites began their Self-Assessment in August 1997 and completed in November 1997.  The on-site reviews occurred throughout the Spring of 1998 and were completed in May, 1998.

The pilot sites played an integral role in assisting the Accreditation Steering Committee refine and improve the accreditation process prior to the statewide implementation.

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