University Health Services receives three-year honor

By Jennifer Heshion

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Following an extensive review process, University Health Services at the University of Massachusetts has been certified by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, recognizing the organization’s excellence in offering high-quality healthcare services.

UHS has been granted a three-year accreditation term by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, a private, non-profit organization established in 1979 which has become the preeminent leader in developing standards which enhance the quality of health care services in an ambulatory setting. 

According to the organization’s official website, the AAAHC was formed to assist the various ambulatory health care organizations in improving the quality of care provided to patients.

In addition to an official review by the AAAHC’s surveyors consisting of physicians, nurses and administrators, all of whom have extensive experience in the ambulatory health care field, the accreditation process also involves a self-assessment conducted by the health care organization.

Certification by the AAAHC is specifically awarded to healthcare groups providing medical or diagnostic services in settings where overnight stays are not usually required, such as university and community health centers, as well as group medical and dental practices.

The three-year term awarded to UHS is the maximum length accreditation granted by the AAAHC. 

With terms ranging between six months and three years, accreditation by the AAAHC is a voluntary process by which a health care organization can measure their performance, as well as the quality of the services they provide, against the nationally recognized standards as detailed in the “AAAHC’s Accreditation Handbook for Ambulatory Health Care.”

The core standards of which the health care organization must meet in order to receive accreditation from the AAAHC include the following categories: Rights of Patients, Governance, Administration, Quality of Care Provided, Quality Management and Improvement, Clinical Records, and Infection Prevention and Control and Safety and Health Information, as well as Facilities and Environment.

For the staff at UHS, the accreditation is both a symbol and a welcomed acknowledgment of their commitment to the healthcare field and for the education and referral services of which the UHS staff provide for UMass students, faculty and staff.

“UHS’ mission is to provide quality healthcare for the University community,” said UHS executive director Bernette A. Melby. “Scrutiny and consultative feedback from an independent, not-for-profit group benefits both the health center and those we serve.”

Jennifer Heshion can be reached at [email protected]