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Gannett Health Services wins national recognition


Cornell's Gannett Health Services has earned high marks and recognition from two national agencies this month.

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has recognized Gannett for having achieved the highest level of certification as a patient-centered medical home (PCMH). And Gannett has been accredited for the fifth time with highest marks by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC).

At a PCMH, a team of health professionals collaborates to provide high levels of care, access and communication, care coordination and integration, and care quality and safety. Gannett is one of the first university health services nationally to achieve this status.

"These distinctions are awarded only after rigorous testing against the highest standards of health care. I am very proud of Gannett's leadership, staff and programming," said Cornell President David J. Skorton, himself a physician. "The PCMH model, with its emphasis on preventive care, is a good fit with Gannett's longtime approach and goals."

Health is central to the mission of the university and to the academic and personal success of Cornell students, said Janet Corson-Rikert, M.D., Cornell's assistant vice president for campus health and executive director of Gannett. "Being recognized as a PCMH reinforces our ongoing commitment to provide high-quality, culturally sensitive, innovative and effective support for campus and student health," she said. "We want students to find at Gannett a 'home' base of support for their physical and mental health and a 'home' team of health care providers who will be their partners in addressing specific goals and concerns."

In awarding Gannett reaccreditation, AAAHC cited Gannett as a flagship organization in college health. AAAHC is an independent organization that provides peer-based accreditation in order to examine and evaluate health care organizations.

The reaccreditation process requires focused and sustained effort in 22 areas, said Nianne VanFleet, Gannett's associate director for nursing and clinical support services. "Accreditation reflects the dedication and values of our staff, demonstrating through specific measures the fact that we care enough about our patients to provide the highest quality services."

The evaluators made particular note of Gannett's public health leadership, as well as its cutting-edge success in providing integrated medical, counseling and health promotion services, VanFleet said. Gannett has been accredited by AAAHC since 2000. AAAHC accreditation is recognized as a symbol of quality by health care providers, medical organizations, insurance companies, and state and federal agencies.

Gannett has a longstanding commitment to providing services that are confidential, cost-effective and sensitive to the diverse needs of the Cornell community, Corson-Rikert said. "Establishing trust and a reputation for comprehensive, patient-centered, exceptional care is vital to Gannett, because students rely on us for primary care medical and counseling services when they are in Ithaca and the campus community entrusts us with leadership on behalf of the public health."

Gannett's staff members continue to challenge themselves to exceed the high standards of excellence through quality improvement programs in all departments, continuing education for staff, patient feedback/surveys and active collaboration with campus and community partners, she added.


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Claudia Wheatley