SF 2159:  Public Health Flexibility was signed by the Governor on March 24, 2016.  The bill is available here.

Public Health Flexibility Bill Summary

This Bill removes outdated language in the Iowa Public Health Modernization Act that passed in 2009 (Iowa Code Chapter 135A). The Act created a state-level voluntary accreditation system for local public health agencies based on adoption and operationalization of the Iowa Public Health Standards. The Iowa Public Health Standards were developed by public health professionals at the state and local levels to answer the question, “What should every Iowan expect from local and state public health?” However, the Modernization Act was never fully implemented. Instead, the focus shifted to quality improvement activities in local public health agencies. The state funding has been used for quality improvement projects at the local level as the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) monitored accreditation activity at the national level.

At the time the Iowa Public Health Standards were developed there was not a national accreditation body for public health agencies. That has since changed. The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) is now the national accreditation body for state and local public health departments and agencies. The Board established its process in September of 2011 – shortly after Iowa passed the Modernization Act. Nationally, local and state public health departments are now utilizing this process for their voluntary accreditation efforts. PHAB will not grant equivalency for state standards, like the Iowa Public Health Standards, therefore, the Iowa Modernization Act is now outdated. Since the Iowa accreditation system was never implemented, the proposed legislative changes will have little impact on local public health agencies.

The bill strikes the outdated language requiring the voluntary accreditation system to be implemented by IDPH. It also removes the outdated references to the Iowa Public Health Standards. The bill eliminates one of the two councils that were established under the Act. One was an advisory council and the other an evaluation committee. The evaluation committee would be eliminated and, with some additional members added, the advisory council will assume the roles of both groups and will assist IDPH in evaluating the public health system in Iowa.