UNH Health Services Earns National Accreditation

By Kim Billings
UNH News Bureau

April 18, 2001

DURHAM, N.H. - The University of New Hampshire's Health Services, which serves more than 12,000 students, has been nationally accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). According to Kevin Charles, assistant vice president for student affairs and director of Health Services, this is the highest form of public recognition a health care organization could receive for the quality of service it provides.

The AAAHC conducts its accreditation program on a national basis and has accredited more than 1,240 ambulatory health care organizations, including university health centers, same-day surgery centers, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), multi-specialty group medical practices, occupational health services and other health care organizations. "The dedication and effort necessary to achieve accreditation is substantial," notes AAAHC President William Beeson, M.D. "UNH is to be commended for this accomplishment."

Health Services, which opened in 1988, is a fully licensed educational health center with staff authorized to practice medicine, dispense prescriptions, perform x-rays and conduct laboratory tests.

With nearly 80 full- and part-time staffers, including physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, health educators and medical assistants, Health Services averages more than 25,000 visits a year from students, faculty and staff. Two years ago, says Charles, staff began to pursue the voluntary process of becoming accredited.

Dr. Maggi Bridwell, director of the student health center at the University of Maryland, visited UNH for AAAHC in February to assess Health Services' programs and services. "The enthusiasm of the staff and their dedication to the delivery of quality care to the students was so obvious during my visit," Bridwell notes. "They are all to be congratulated for undergoing accreditation and confirming that they meet the standards of a national accrediting body by receiving the full three-year accreditation decision. They join a prestigious group of health care organizations with this accreditation."

The certificate of accreditation would be the most visible result of the process, Charles explains, but the ultimate value of accreditation is in the ongoing self-analysis, peer review and consultation the center gains in the AAAHC program.

"The quality of health care available to our students is exceptional, and I am happy that Health Services has been nationally recognized for their work," says UNH President Joan Leitzel.

For more information on AAAHC, go to www.aaahc.org

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