Office of Public Affairs
(315) 341-2265
Aug.30, 2000
OSWEGO -- Mary Walker Health Center Oswego State got a checkup, and the news is good. The center recently received word that its application for accreditation by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care was approved.
"It is proof of meeting standards set up by outside agencies and is prima facie evidence of quality programming and quality service," said Dr. Richard Thompson, physician and director of the center.
Walker Health Center accommodates about 14,000 visits a year, and the staff cares for students with all levels of illness.
Six years of work meeting the nationally recognized standards set by the Chicago-based accrediting organization culminated in an on-site survey in May by a team of physicians and health care administrators. The team's positive report on Walker's facilities and patient care led to accreditation, which is renewable after three years.
"The dedication and effort necessary for an organization to be accredited is substantial. Mary Walker Health Center is to be commended for this accomplishment," said Dr. William H. Beeson, president of the AAAHC, in announcing the center's accreditation.
The association's standards looked at governance of the health center, rights of patients, administration of the organization and quality of care provided, said Jean Grant, coordinator of clinical services at the center and a nurse practitioner.
"The association was very interested in what kinds of quality assurance measures we have in place," she said. "We felt in the past that we had been giving high quality care, but we had no documentation on paper. Now, we have that."
Grant said that accreditation is a goal of SUNY campus health centers. So far nine have achieved accreditation, including Potsdam, Geneseo, Brockport, Stony Brook, Alfred, Cortland, Binghamton and Albany in addition to Oswego, according to Grant.
AAAHC figures indicate that of 3,000 colleges in the country about 500 college health centers are accredited.
The survey report included only two suggestions for Walker, Grant said. The first involved creating a x-ray department, something that has been considered before, but because of cost was rejected in favor of continuing to use the local hospital's facilities.
Grant said that it would cost about $100,000 to line the building with lead, reinforce it to accommodate the equipment and purchase used equipment, not including the cost of staffing the facility.
The second suggestion was that staff become advanced cardiac life support certified. Thompson already is certified, and two other staff members will take the training to become certified in the fall.
The AAAHC conducts its accreditation program on a national basis and has accredited more than 800 ambulatory heath care organizations.
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CONTACT: Jean Grant, 312-4100

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