Student Health Services at UTPA achieves accreditation
Posted: 01/07/2010
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The University of Texas-Pan American announced Dec. 18 that its Student Health Services has achieved accreditation by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC).

UTPA Student Health Services is one of only seven university student health care centers in Texas that has received accreditation, which distinguishes the center from many other outpatient facilities statewide by meeting nationally recognized standards set by AAAHC for the provision of quality health care. Nationwide, only five percent of college health centers are accredited by national accreditation agencies.

"We believe our students deserve the best," stated Rick Gray, RN and Student Health Services director. "When you see our certificate of accreditation, you will know that the AAAHC, an independent, not-for-profit organization, has closely examined our facility and procedures. It means that we as an organization care enough about our patients to strive for the highest quality care possible."

Gray said AAAHC accreditation is specifically for organizations that provide diagnostic or medical care on an outpatient basis - where an overnight stay would not be required. Among the types of ambulatory health care organizations that can seek AAAHC accreditation are ambulatory and office-based surgery centers, single and multi-specialty group practices, college health centers, dental group practices, community health centers, occupational health centers and managed care organizations.

Ambulatory health care organizations seeking accreditation by the AAAHC undergo an extensive self-assessment and on-site survey by the accreditation association's expert surveyors - volunteer physicians, nurses and administrators who are actively involved in ambulatory health care. The survey is consultative and educational, presenting best practices to help an organization improve its care and services. More than 4,500 ambulatory health care organizations across the United States are accredited by AAAHC, which was founded in 1979 and serves as an advocate for the provision of high quality health care through the development of nationally recognized standards and its survey and accreditation programs.

Gray said not all ambulatory health care organizations seek accreditation and not all undergoing the on-site survey required as part of the process are granted accreditation.

"Going through the process challenged us to find better ways to serve our students, and it is a constant reminder that our first responsibility is to our students and the quality of care we provide," Gray said. "Parents should feel assured that the college health center taking care of their UTPA student has chosen to undergo this rigorous review process."

UTPA Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services Dr. John Edwards commended the efforts of the center's employees and the leadership of Gray to achieve accreditation.

"The staff at the student health center is to be complimented for its work to benefit our students, providing them a center that is so highly accredited," he said.

Student Health Services at UTPA began in 1974 with a single nurse housed in a converted storeroom taking care of residential students only. Since then, it has grown to a staff of 12 health care providers and support staff housed in a new 7,500-square-foot center with the primary responsibility of providing care and education to all UTPA students. It has been accredited since 1995.

Services to students include general medical care as well as specialty clinics in women's wellness, skin care and STD screening as well as routine immunizations and TB testing. Prescriptions written in the clinic can be filled by the center's The Class D pharmacy. The center also provides low cost charges for medicines, supplies and any needed lab tests.

To locate the complete list of accredited student health centers, go to For more information on UTPA Student Health Services, go to or contact Gray at 956/381-2511 or via e-mail at