March 23, 2021

PHAB Expands Scope of Authority Policy
Effective today, health departments will be able to submit documentation examples from an expanded set of public health programs that highlight population-based interventions within the 10 Essential Public Health Services under the revised Scope of Authority policy. The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) has revised its guidance on documentation that is within PHAB’s scope of authority to include more population-based interventions and services inclusive of activities that are often at the core of health department work, such as the WIC program.

PHAB’s revised Scope of Authority policy guides the determination of which activities and services are appropriate to submit as documentation for accreditation. The policy includes an addendum of program and activity examples that are within and outside of PHAB’s scope, and therefore acceptable or not acceptable for documentation. 
What does this mean for health departments?
The expanded scope provides health departments with more examples to use as documentation for accreditation and showcase the robustness of services that the department provides. PHAB accreditation focuses on interventions that affect the health of populations or subpopulations. Health departments can affect the health of populations through programs targeted at a group of individuals, such as delivery of health education messaging to WIC clients or system changes that improve access to STI services at a health department. 

Although populations are comprised of individuals, the focus of PHAB accreditation is not on services provided to an individual client. For PHAB accreditation, examples must illustrate the use of data, policies, systems, programs, and services to collaboratively improve the health of populations, address social determinants of health, or facilitate health equity.

The addendum in the Scope of Authority policy provides examples of how to apply the principles that are within PHAB’s scope for topics such as performance management, family planning, communications, injury prevention, and more. This is not intended to be an all-inclusive list; however, it will provide general guidance on acceptable examples for accreditation. Contact your assigned Accreditation Specialist, or Marita Chilton, MPH, Director of Accreditation, at with questions. 

We acknowledge that navigating policy changes guiding the public health accreditation process may present challenges. However, the revised Scope of Authority policy provides an opportunity for departments to include more diverse examples from population-based programs to support accreditation. Visit PHAB’s website for more information and guidance on PHAB’s scope. In addition to the resources below, the webpage will be continuously updated with new information, such as webinar recordings and other materials as they become available. 

Webinar: On Wednesday, April 21 at 1:00 – 2:00 pm ET, there will be a two-part webinar with PHAB staff to discuss the Scope of Authority policy and guidance on the scope of examples and documentation for PHAB accreditation. The second half of the webinar will review PHAB’s supplemental guidance that has been in place during the pandemic.
Part of our commitment to public health departments is to continuously improve our products and services. This update of our scope of authority policy reflects our efforts to be responsive to the needs of the field and adapt to the changing landscape of public health. To learn more about PHAB’s vision and the principles that will guide our work over the next few years, read the PHAB Strategic Plan 2020-2022.  

For questions and concerns related to the Scope of Authority policy, please reach out to your Accreditation Specialist, or Marita Chilton, MPH, Director of Accreditation, at For more information and guidance on scope, visit our website.
Paul Kuehnert, DNP, RN, FAAN
President & CEO
Jessica Kronstadt, MPP (she, her, hers)
Vice President, Program, Research & Evaluation