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January 11, 2000

UW’s network of neighborhood clinics earns a perfect score from national accrediting organization

The University of Washington Physicians Neighborhood Clinics are celebrating a coup.

The network of neighborhood clinics received an exceptional score of 100 percent in an accreditation survey performed by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). The clinics are located throughout Seattle, the Eastside and South King County.

In awarding the perfect score, AAAHC made no recommendations for changes, and gave the clinic network a three-year accreditation, the longest granted, noted Dr. Tom Norris, associate dean of the UW School of Medicine and medical director of the clinics.

“According to our AAAHC survey team, it’s very uncommon for an organization to receive a three-year award on the first attempt at achieving accreditation,” Norris said. “We really welcomed the survey as a constructive learning experience and feel that our patients are the ultimate beneficiaries from our participation in the accreditation program. We value accreditation as a measure of professional achievement and quality of care.”

The perfect score is all the more notable, said Teresa Spellman, director of Quality Improvement, Accreditation and Credentialing, because the clinic network applied for its first accreditation only two months after opening its most recent clinic.

“We chose to undergo accreditation during our start-up phase to provide a standard of excellence for creating the policies, procedures and fundamental operating structure vital to a successful organization,” Spellman said.

“During our 18-month survey preparation period, surveys indicate that 96 percent of patients are ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with care received at our neighborhood clinics,” said Spellman.

The accreditation involved an extensive on-site survey of clinic facilities and services. The survey team, composed of outside physicians and health care administrators, evaluated all aspects of patient care.

AAAHC conducts its accreditation program on a national basis. Not all ambulatory health care organizations seek accreditation, and not all receive favorable decisions. In a letter to the UW, AAAHC president Dr. William H. Beeson said, “The dedication and effort necessary for an organization to be accredited is substantial, and the UW Physicians Network is to be commended for this accomplishment.”

More information on the UW Physicians neighborhood clinics is available at 1-800-826-1121 or on the web at http://uwphysicians.org/

More information on AAAHC is available on the web at http://www.aaahc.org/pros/index.html