SRU receives excellent marks en route to Student Health Services reaccreditation


Student Health center on campus

Slippery Rock University’s Student Health Services, which includes the Student Health Center, received nearly perfect marks on its recent accreditation survey administrated by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care.

March 8, 2019

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - To say that Slippery Rock University's Student Health Services received a clean bill of health would be an understatement. SHS was recently granted reaccreditation from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, achieving substantial compliance by meeting more than 99 percent of the AAAHC's standards.

"The goal of accreditation is to determine if the students are receiving quality care and if our services are run in an ethical and financially sound manner," said Kris Benkeser, director of student health and wellness. "The answer is 'yes' across the board. We achieved almost a perfect survey score. Our scores are consistently elevating to the point where we achieve more than the 99th percentile."

SRU's SHS has been continuously accredited by AAAHC since 1997 and managed to improve on the 99-percent score from the last accreditation survey three years ago.

AAAHC reviews more than 6,000 organizations, accrediting a wide range of outpatient settings including office-based surgery facilities, medical and dental group practices, community health centers, retail clinics and student health centers at colleges and universities. There are hundreds of criteria that the AAAHC examines from 15 main categories that range from rights of patients and governance to quality of care and clinical record-keeping.

"We measure quality by answering three questions: Are we hiring quality people? Are those people providing quality care that's consistent with best practice? And do we have quality processes?," Benkeser said. "Hopefully what we get out of that funnel is a quality service, and that's what (AAAHC) decided that we offer."



Benkeser said that SRU is a rare case for the surveyors because SRU's Student Health Center is one of fewer than 10 across the country that provides 24-hour, seven-days-a-week care. The Student Health Center is part of SHS, which includes non-clinical services such as health promotions and programming and the University's public health response, all of which is part of the AAAHC's analysis.

"The accreditation manual is really a handbook on how to run a good health service," said Benkeser, who herself is a surveyor for the AAAHC and surveys about one or two other student health centers per year. "The standards are not prescriptive; we're not told we have to do things this way or that way, but it says however you do it you need to include certain principles."

SRU's Student Health Center is staffed by four full-time nurse-practitioners and 10 nurses. Dan Ferguson, MD, serves as medical director for clinical services. In 2017-18, the SHC provided 7,836 hours of direct care, which doesn't include running lab reports and other administrative duties. Of the nearly 71,000 total contacts made with students through clinical and non-clinical services, nearly 19,000 were for clinical contacts such as physical exams, immunizations, sexually transmitted infection tests and psychological visits.

"The needs are getting more complex," Benkeser said. "But we are regarded as a pacesetter for student health."

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