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NMSU Aggie Health and Wellness Center earns coveted reaccreditation

Release Date: 29 Mar 2022
NMSU Aggie Health and Wellness Center earns coveted reaccreditation

The Aggie Health and Wellness Center at New Mexico State University recently passed a rigorous reaccreditation process to earn a coveted stamp of approval from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care.

The Aggie Health and Wellness Center, which provides comprehensive medical and psychological services to students, staff and faculty at NMSU, has been continually accredited by the AAAHC since 1996.

Currently, more than 6,100 ambulatory health care organizations across the United States have AAAHC accreditation, including about 300 college health centers.

“Our reaccreditation continues to display high standards demanded by the AAAHC, demonstrating a strong commitment to maintaining patient safety and patient privacy as well as remaining in compliance with all federal, state and local laws,” said Amanda Blair, interim director for the Aggie Health and Wellness Center.

Blair said the AAAHC reaccreditation process occurs every three years on a voluntary basis and includes an extensive self-assessment and a two-day onsite survey by AAAHC expert surveyors.

Dr. Michael J. Huey, a retired medical director from Emory University and former interim CEO of the American College Health Association, conducted the center’s site survey in February, Blair said. She added that Dr. Huey was particularly impressed with the center’s robust policies and procedures manual. 

“He referenced that our patient rights and responsibility are some the best he has seen in his 17 years as an AAAHC surveyor,” Blair said. “He was very impressed with what he saw here.”

Blair said the center’s status as an accredited health care organization is a testament to the center’s highly trained and dedicated staff. The staff includes 45 health care and mental health professionals and almost 20 student employees – who continuously strive to meet nationally recognized standards for high-quality health care set by AAAHC.

Blair said the center’s staff is committed to providing safe, quality services to patients every day of the AAAHC’s 1,095-day accreditation cycle.

Blair noted that much of the reaccreditation process took place amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a challenging time during which the center and its staff had to adapt services. 

Before March 2020, for example, the center did not provide telehealth services. But within two weeks, the center pivoted to providing remote services almost exclusively.

“Now, we cannot envision our services without this option,” Blair said.

The center’s laboratory and pharmacy also played critical roles throughout the pandemic, providing COVID-19 testing and vaccines to the campus community – which the AAAHC surveyor report highlighted.

“We have had a huge focus on COVID-19 vaccinations since the New Mexico Department of Health vaccination pods on campus ended last spring,” said Marlena Limon, the center’s pharmacy manager. “Since April 2021, we have administered 4,481 COVD-19 doses to date.”

Limon, who joined the center in July 2021, said that in preparation for reaccreditation process, she and one her colleagues, Dale Menges, revised the center’s pharmacy policy and procedures manual to meet guidelines set by the New Mexico Board of Pharmacy and the AAAHC. 

Under Limon’s leadership, the center’s pharmacy is now authorized to provide tuberculosis skin testing, hormonal contraception and emergency contraception.

“Currently, we are also using our vaccination prescriptive authority to help nursing staff with our travel vaccination clinic,” Limon said.

The AAAHC surveyor report also praised the center’s food bank, Aggie Cupboard, which provides free supplementary food assistance to community members attending or working at NMSU and Doña Ana Community College. Aggie Cupboard saw a significant increase in clientele during the onset of the pandemic. 

“It takes our extremely gifted staff at the Aggie Health and Wellness Center working with excellence every day to accomplish a three-year accreditation,” said Dr. Judi Voelz, the center’s medical director. “They work with excellence every day, and I say thank you to them.” 

For more information about the Aggie Health and Wellness Center, visit https://wellness.nmsu.edu.

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