Public Health Accreditation

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) was among the first big city public health departments in the U.S. to receive national accreditation from the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB).  PDPH achieved accreditation in November 2015 after undergoing a rigorous, peer review assessment process to ensure we met or exceeded a set of quality standards and measures for public health. The five-year designation recognizes the PDPH’s capacity and commitment to protect and promote the health of all Philadelphians.

Sharps Containers Installed in Kensington

Sharps deposit boxes are Philadelphia’s newest tool in its four-week-old recovery campaign for opioid-plagued Kensington. Last week, the Philadelphia Public Health Department installed seven of the safe syringe disposal bins at SEPTA stops and public parks throughout the Kensington neighborhood where Mayor Jim Kenney declared a ‘disaster’ earlier this month. The new waste bins are the size and shape of curbside mail dropboxes —  the hope is that people will dump their used hypodermics there, instead of leaving them on the ground.

By Nina Feldman

Cities’ Rights

That was Lower Moreland native Rod Rosenstein in the New York Times on August 28th, bully-pulpiting Philly and other cities over their efforts to counter the opioid epidemic by encouraging the opening of so-called “safe injection sites.”

The city’s response? “The federal government should focus its enforcement on the pill mills and illegal drug traffickers who supply the poison that is killing our residents, not on preventing public health officials from acting to keep Philadelphians from dying,” shot back Department of Public Health spokesman Jim Garrow.

By Brian Howard

Centralized Intake Systems in Home Visiting

Sara Kinsman is the director of the health departments’s Division of Maternal, Child and Family Health, which received the grant. The first iteration of the centralized referral system will be a hotline that she hopes is launched by next summer.

Kinsman said that the providers will work together to plan the system’s next phases. But they already agree that its final form will allow for family choice, meaning the system’s clients will be included in the decision-making process about which provider seems best for them.

By Grace Shallow

Fentanyl Overtaking Heroin

The answers they received shocked them. Of the drug users the Health Department surveyed, 45 percent told researchers that they weren’t trying to avoid fentanyl at all — that they would be more likely to use a bag of fentanyl.

“There was more acceptance — it had become part of the community in a way it hadn’t been initially. It was actually something people were going for because it was an enhanced high,” said Kendra Viner, manager of the department’s Opioid Surveillance Program. “And people between 25 and 34 years old were significantly more likely to say they would seek out fentanyl.”

By Aubrey Whelan


Access to Care Report

Press Release

PHILADELPHIA — This morning, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, with the support of the University of Pennsylvania Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, released a report on the state of primary medical care in Philadelphia, Staying Healthy: Access to Primary Care in Philadelphia. This report found that while the total number of primary care providers in the city continues to rise, some neighborhoods–the Northeast and Southwest Philadelphia–have a significantly lower supply of primary care providers than other parts of the city.


In a city with more than 30 hospitals and five medical schools, it might seem that proximity to basic health care would not be a problem.

But the new report finds that parts of the Northeast and Southwest are officially “primary care shortage areas,” with one provider for every 3,500 people, far below the citywide average of one per 1,200 people.

By Pat Loeb


Currently, there is a six-month wait for a doctor’s appointment, said Joan Bland, the clinic’s director and a nurse. For a walk-in, there is at least a half-hour wait to see a health-care provider, she said. The clinic is adding patient exam rooms in the basement, and has hired more nurse-practitioners to help with the patient load.

The clinic is in an area rich with diversity. There are 12 interpreters on staff for patients who speak Chinese, Spanish, Russian, Hindi, and Urdu, among other languages. Six staff members, who all speak at least two languages, help patients set up insurance, Bland said.

By Mari Schaefer


If the place had the feeling of bursting at the seams, it’s because it is – Health Center 10 is by far the busiest of the eight primary care health centers run by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. It sees 67,000 patient visits a year, and new patients add their names to a long waiting list for appointments. City clinics treat patients regardless of insurance status — making them the only option for many families. On Tuesday, the sound of a construction crew hammering away in the basement reverberated through the building – an effort to expand the number of exam rooms spaces.

By Nina Feldman

Philly Tribune

The study released on Tuesday by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health indicates that while the total number of primary care providers in the city continues to rise, some neighborhoods — the Northeast and Southwest Philadelphia — have a significantly lower supply of primary care providers than other parts of the city.

This shortage means that these areas, commonly low-income and with high proportions of racial and ethnic minorities, are forced to wait longer to see their primary care providers for routine appointments. For residents who utilize Medicaid as their health insurance, this report finds that many providers who accept Medicaid as insurance nonetheless do not make appointments available for Medicaid patients.

By staff

Opioid Conference

At an opioid crisis conference, up on stage at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, a city health worker demonstrated how to administer NARCAN Nasal Spray, if you suspect someone is experiencing an overdose.

Allison Herens, the city health department’s harm-reduction coordinator, approached the torso of a mannequin, telling the audience the first step is to alert the person you’re there to help.

By Steve Tawa


Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was confirmed to have treated two cases in August, three cases have been confirmed in New Jersey this year and three more cases were confirmed in Pittsburgh, the Inquirer reported. But the Philadelphia Health Department told the newspaper that no cases involving Philadelphia residents have been confirmed.

By Bailey King