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Gannett Health Services reaccredited with top ratings

Cornell's Gannett Health Services has been awarded a three-year reaccreditation, earning the top rating in each of 22 areas surveyed.

The Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) described Gannett as "a model university health service" in its evaluation. Gannett had 95,000 patient visits during the 2008-09 fiscal year, reaching 80 percent of students and 50 percent of faculty and staff.

Accreditation by the AAAHC is a voluntary, comprehensive evaluation of Gannett's operation against standard benchmarks of quality. Only about 10 percent of college health centers nationwide are accredited; Gannett has been accredited since 2000.

"We're pleased and proud to receive this recognition," said Dr. Janet Corson-Rikert, Gannett's executive director. "We value accreditation and believe that it helps us to maintain our commitment to quality and the continual enhancement of the services we provide to the Cornell community. Our patients are the ultimate benefactors from our participation in the accreditation program."

To become accredited, Gannett submitted to the AAAHC a 6-inch-high stack of documentation and underwent an extensive self-assessment and an on-site survey of its facilities and services. "The preparation for reaccreditation involved almost every member of our staff and resulted in clear improvements in many aspects of our operation," said Nianne Van Fleet, associate director for nursing and clinical services and accreditation coordinator. Gannett runs 43 ongoing quality improvement projects involving 12 departments, she said. They include a range of studies addressing the documentation of care, outcome and cost. The evaluators made particular note of Gannett's public health leadership, as well as its commitment to providing integrated medical, counseling and health promotion services.

AAAHC is a private, nongovernmental, not-for-profit organization. It receives professional guidance and financial support from a number of professional medical organizations, including the American College Health Association.

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Simeon Moss