Merced County Times Newspaper
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Merced County Public Health Dept. achieves national accreditation

The Merced County Department of Public Health announced recently that it received national accreditation—a benchmark that represents years of work to bring the County’s Public Health system up to the highest national performance standards.

Merced County’s Public Health Department is the first in the San Joaquin Valley to achieve this benchmark through the Public Health Accreditation Board and is one of fewer than 300 accredited health departments nationwide. This accomplishment required:

• Measuring Merced County Public Health’s performance against a set of nationally-recognized standards (practice-focused and evidence-based);

• Promoting high performance and continuous quality improvement;

• Illustrating accountability to the public and policymakers; 
• Increasing visibility to the public leading to greater trust.

Dr. Rebecca Nanyonjo-Kemp, Merced County’s Public Health Director, said the accreditation process is a rigorous undertaking that involves multi-faceted, peer-reviewed assessment procedures to ensure the department meets or exceeds a set of 100 quality standards and measures. 
“Accreditation ensures that our programs and services are responsive to the needs of our community. It’s also our receipt to the community that we are not only meeting, but in many cases exceeding requirements. The task was huge and this accomplishment is even greater”, Nanyonjo-Kemp said. 
Kaye Bender (PhD, RN, FAAN), President and CEO of the Public Health Accreditation Board, said Merced County’s Public Health Department is stronger as a result of the accreditation process. 
“The Merced County Department of Public Health joins the growing ranks of accredited health departments in a strong commitment to their public health mission,” Bender said. “The peer-review process provides valuable feedback to inform health departments of their strengths and areas for improvement, so that they can better protect and promote the health of the people they serve in their communities. Residents of a community served by a nationally accredited health department can be assured that their health department has demonstrated the capacity to protect and promote the health of that community.” 
While there are persisting challenges that face the San Joaquin Valley, Merced County has strong cross-sector partnerships working to make our region a healthier place. For more information about the Merced County Public Health Department and its efforts, please visit online at: countyofmerced.com/health.

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