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public health finance, public health financial transparency, public health accountability, public health financial management



  1. Honore, Peggy A. DHA
  2. Clarke, Richard L. DHA, FHFMA
  3. Mead, Dean Michael PhD
  4. Menditto, Susan M. CPA


Financial transparency is based on concepts for valid, standardized information that is readily accessible and routinely disseminated to stakeholders. While Congress and others continuously ask for an accounting of public health investments, transparency remains an ignored concept. The objective of this study was to examine financial transparency practices in other industries considered as part of the public health system. Key informants, regarded as financial experts on the operations of hospitals, school systems, and higher education, were a primary source of information. Principal findings were that system partners have espoused some concepts for financial transparency beginning in the early 20th century-signifying an 80-year implementation gap for public health. Critical features that promote accountability included standardized data collection methods and infrastructures, uniform practices for quantitative analysis of financial performance, and credentialing of the financial management workforce. Recommendations are offered on the basis of these findings to aid public health to close this gap by framing a movement toward transparency.