July 1st, 2021 will be a special day here at the health department. It is the day that our Accreditation Coordinator, Jessica Kiper, officially starts. This will be the beginning of a 3-to-5-year journey. However, once we reach the finish line, our local health department will be better for having invested time and resources into such a journey.

Accreditation is important for several reasons. However, most importantly is that accreditation requires organizations to reach certain benchmarks to receive and maintain such recognition. In a healthcare setting, this improves the overall patient experience—as well as the employee experience. Therefore, reaching this milestone will not only be beneficial for GCHD but will also be beneficial for the community as well.

Another important factor of being accredited is that it increases eligibility for grants that we can use to bring needed programs here to Grayson County. Again, this is a plus for both the community and the organization. Although GHCD has received grants without being accredited, we have been excluded from more competitive grants simply because we are not an accredited agency.

For the last few years, there has been pressure on health departments throughout the state to become accredited. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed this process; however, as we get back to the “new” normal, we can focus on accreditation once again.

I am excited to see where this journey will take us. There are a lot of uncertainties at this point. However, there are two things which I know for sure. We will finish this task and reach accreditation. Secondly, we will be a better organization for achieving such recognition—and the community along with the organization will both benefit.

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