Over the next two years, the Mississippi State Department of Health will be working toward gaining national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB).
Accreditation requires us to measure our performance against a set of national standards, to look closely at how we operate, and to discover areas that may need improvement. The goal of accreditation is to ensure that Mississippi is served by a public health system that is both effective and efficient, and which offers the highest possible quality of services and protection. Performance standards are based on the CDC's 10 essential public health services.
The State Health Improvement Plan
A major step toward national accreditation is the creation of a State Health Improvement Plan for Mississippi’s future. After a statewide survey of health needs and meetings with state agencies, non-profit organizations, and private businesses, four major health-related issues will be the focus for improvement in coming years:
- Improving educational attainment for Mississippians in order to improve their economic standing and access to health care.
- Improving infant health, especially the state’s infant mortality rate.
- Reducing chronic disease, one of the heaviest burdens on the state’s health and economy.
- The creation of a culture of health in the state: fostering health-centered attitudes in communities, businesses and government in the state.
These public health priorities are central to Mississippi’s State Health Improvement Plan.
A systematic quality improvement process is a central part of accreditation. Quality improvement is a continuous process of checking our progress against our goals, and listening to the public to determine how well our services are meeting their needs. Some of our current quality improvement projects and successes are:
- Increasing enrollment in the WIC Nutrition program, and decreasing waiting time for local WIC services.
- Increasing access to family planning services for women.
- Reducing inefficiencies in procurement for the state public health pharmacy.