Objectives: We sought to identify the incentives most likely to encourage voluntary participation in the national public health accreditation model.
Methods: We reviewed existing incentives, held meetings with key informants, and conducted a survey of state and local public health agency representatives. The survey was sent to all state health departments and a sample of local health departments. Group-specific differences in survey responses were examined.
Results: Survey response rates were 51% among state health department representatives and 49% among local health department representatives. Both state health department and local health department respondents rated financial incentives for accredited agencies, financial incentives for agencies considering accreditation, and infrastructure and quality improvement as important incentives. State health department respondents also indicated that grant administration and grant application would encourage their participation in the national accreditation model, and local health department respondents also noted that technical assistance and training would encourage their participation.
Conclusions: Incentives to encourage participation of state and local agencies in the national voluntary accreditation model should include financial support as well as support for agency infrastructure and quality improvements. Several initiatives are already under way to support agency infrastructure and quality improvement, but financial support incentives have yet to be developed.