The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department recently gained a new level of national accreditation.
The national accreditation program is new, having launched just last year with the aim of promoting greater consistency across the country’s more than 3,000 state and local public health departments. So far only five Kentucky facilities have made the grade.
Lexington health commissioner Dr. Rice Leach says the process actually began back in 2009 for local health officials when the department launched a community health assessment that wound up putting it on the fast-track.
He says the aim is to bring greater alignment to the entire public health system.
"Somewhere in the middle of this bell-shaped curve of things you can do is a consistent pattern that allows comparability among and between various health departments," Leach says.
Still, for the moment, only 44 departments have so far qualified for the accreditation program, which is supported through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. But Leach says that number is bound to grow when the Public Health Accreditation Board meets again later this year.