UTPA's student health services awarded national accreditation
Posted: 04/06/2004
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Student Health Services at The University of Texas-Pan American was recently awarded accreditation by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Inc. (AAAHC), a national organization based in Chicago that accredits ambulatory health care organizations. UTPA's Student Health Services is one of only six student health centers accredited in Texas.

"We are pleased and proud to have achieved accreditation," said Rick Gray, director of Student Health Services.

Student Health Services located in Emilia Schunior Ramirez Hall at The University of Texas-Pan American recently gained accreditation by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Inc.
"We think accreditation is very important and has helped us to improve the quality of care we provide. We feel the students are the ultimate benefactors from our participation in the voluntary accreditation program."

Achieving accreditation means a facility has met a nationally recognized set of 18 core standards relating to areas such as quality of care, quality management and improvement, clinical records, pharmaceutical services, facilities and environment, governance, administration and professional development, among others.

The process includes a self assessment and a two day on-site survey by an AAAHC team of physicians, health care managers and other health care professionals. An AAAHC accreditation committee, also composed of health care professionals, makes the final accreditation decision based on the findings of the survey. Accreditation for UTPA was awarded for three years by AAAHC, a private, non-governmental, nonprofit organization.

"This accreditation puts UTPA in the same company as some of the premier and flagship universities in the state," said Dennis McMillan, associate vice president for Enrollment and Student Services. The other accredited health centers are located at UT Austin, Texas A&M-College Station, Texas Tech- Lubbock, Southern Methodist University-Dallas and Texas State University-San Marcos.

Gray said that any enrolled student is eligible to use the clinic's services. Each student pays a $15 medical service fee each semester which covers all the visits with the health care providers. There is also a Class D pharmacy on site which fills prescriptions written in the clinic. Gray said they are trying to make more students aware of the services available.

Felix Alonzo, pharmacy technician and 2003 UTPA graduate, fills a prescription in the Student Health Services clinic.
"Our women's wellness package is the largest component of our services. Seventy to 75 percent of our clientele are women," Gray said.

The women's wellness services include a pap smear, a panel of blood tests, screening for and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases and family planning education and counseling.

Gray said the staff includes a nurse supervisor, medical assistant, a pharmacy technician, two nurse practitioners, physician assistant, two clerical workers, three student workers and a part-time medical director. Other services available are diagnosis and treatment of common illnesses, physical exams, immunizations, routine lab procedures and screenings and nutritional counseling.

Clinic hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Friday.

Betty Bautista, a family nurse practitioner on the clinic staff and lecturer in the UTPA Nursing Department, said it was very special and prestigious to be accredited.

"It means that we are experts and we have passed rigorous testing to have a college health center here. Only a small percentage of clinics are accredited across the country," she said.

Gray said he was thankful and proud of the competency and abilities of the clinic staff, especially noting T.J. Rossow, nurse practitioner and the clinic's accreditation coordinator.

"The staff's dedication to quality and hard work was the key to this favorable accreditation decision," he said.

For more information on AAAHC accreditation, log on to For more information on Student Health Services, contact 956/381-2511.