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Taking a Step Forward in Public Health Finance: Establishing Standards for a Uniform Chart of Accounts Crosswalk

Honoré, Peggy A. DHA; Leider, Jonathon P. PhD; Singletary, Vivian MBA; Ross, David A. ScD

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: September/October 2015 - Volume 21 - Issue 5 - p 509–513
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000283

In its 2012 report on the current and future states of public health finance, the Institute of Medicine noted, with concern, the relative lack of capacity for practitioners and researchers alike to make comparisons between health department expenditures across the country. This is due in part to different accounting systems, service portfolios, and state- or agency-specific reporting requirements. The Institute of Medicine called for a uniform chart of accounts, perhaps building on existing efforts such as the Public Health Uniform National Data Systems (PHUND$). Shortly thereafter, a group was convened to work with public health practitioners and researchers to develop a uniform chart of accounts crosswalk. A year-long process was undertaken to create the crosswalk. This commentary discusses that process, challenges encountered along the way and provides a draft crosswalk in line with the Foundational Public Health Services model that, if used by health departments, could allow for meaningful comparisons between agencies.

This commentary discusses a chart of accounts crosswalk and challenges encountered along the way of creating it and also provides a draft crosswalk based on the Foundational Public Health Services model that could allow for meaningful comparisons between agencies if used by health departments.

Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Public Health, New Orleans (Dr Honoré); and Public Health Informatics Institute, Global Task Force for Global Health, Decatur, Georgia (Ms Singletary and Dr Ross). Dr Leider is an independent consultant at JP Leider Research and Consulting, LLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Correspondence: Jonathon P. Leider, PhD, JP Leider Research and Consulting, LLC, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (

The Chart of Accounts Crosswalk project was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The authors acknowledge all members of the Chart of Accounts Advisory Committee for their work in developing the draft chart of accounts framework discussed in this commentary.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.