Healthservice testspositive

by Melanie Evans

As patients wandered through Boynton Health Service’s sterile hallways for examinations Friday, the doctors, nurses and administrators underwent an evaluation of their own.
Friday capped the health clinic’s two-day review by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care — a national organization of health care consultants and administrators who rate the quality and efficiency of walk-in health care services in hospitals and clinics.
About 20 staff members gathered in Boynton’s library for a release of the preliminary findings Friday afternoon. Standing before the crowd, the association’s auditor, Marshall Baker, gave the clinic a clean bill of health.
During the half-hour briefing, Baker, a health care consultant from Bosie, Idaho, commended the staff for well-documented and confidential medical records, clean facilities, and a strong prevention and educational outreach program.
Small examination rooms and lack of parking ranked among Boynton’s key shortcomings, said Baker.
“You are challenged by parking,” he told the crowd. “It is a Universitywide problem.”
Little can be done about the chronic parking shortage, said Dr. Marilyn Joseph, Boynton’s medical director.
“One of the reasons, for better or for worse, we don’t see outside people — we don’t have the space for one thing — and they don’t have the space to park,” she said.
Joseph is familiar with the cramped examination rooms. But he said that without adding an expansion, increasing the size of the rooms would only reduce the number of confidential spaces available.
Last week’s one-man review involved a complete inspection of Boynton — from the cupboards of the St. Paul pharmacy to the Minneapolis clinic’s boiler room.
Months of data collection preceeded the on-site visit. Baker’s findings, along with an examination of the clinic’s records and policies, form the basis for the association’s final ratings, due to be released in eight to 10 weeks.
The audit is voluntary, and occurs once every three years. Results from the last review, conducted in 1995, found the health service in full compliance with 19 of 22 categories. The three remaining areas were found to be not applicable to the health service.
Undergoing an audit by an outside source is as important for customer reassurance as it is for Boynton’s maintenance, said Dr. Edward Ehlinger, director for Boynton Health Service.
“All student health services suffer the same fate as dorm food. No matter how good you are, you’re still dorm food,” he said.