PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center and Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center both received A ratings in a recent hospital safety analysis conducted by The LeapFrog Group, an independent national watchdog organization that examines hospital quality and safety.
“Providing safe, high-quality care for all remains essential to our mission,” said Sean Gregory, chief executive of PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. “I am very proud of our caregivers and physicians who, even when faced with the ongoing challenges COVID-19 brings, remain committed to delivering exceptional care to our community every day.”
Leapfrog assigns a letter grade — A, B, C, D or F — to general hospitals based on performance, error prevention, injuries, accidents, infections and other safety measures. A panel of patient safety experts use public data and surveys to determine the grades, which are updated every six months.
The methodology for determining grades is peer-reviewed and available to the public. Some 2,600 general hospitals in the United States are assigned a grade.
An A rating means a hospital scored well on the above-mentioned criteria. It doesn’t mean that a hospital is error-free, however. For example, PeaceHealth scored poorly in areas related to surgical procedures, and Legacy Salmon Creek scored poorly in areas related to infections.
Specifically, PeaceHealth scored below average on surgical wounds splitting open, accidental cuts and tears during surgery, deaths from treatable complications and responsiveness of hospital staff.
Legacy Salmon Creek scored below average on urinary tract infections, surgical site infections after colon surgery, blood leakage, serious breathing problems and patient falls and injuries.
Compared with six months ago, PeaceHealth improved its score on MRSA infections (an antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria found in bedsheets and medical equipment).
However, a poor rating in certain areas, even among hospitals that receive lower letter grades, doesn’t mean that a hospital is unsafe.
Leapfrog stresses that patients in need of care shouldn’t avoid hospitals in an emergency based on the safety grade. Instead, when patients have a choice, the safety grade offers important information that allows them to be discerning, because not all hospitals are the same.
Some hospital officials use Leapfrog’s safety grade to assess where improvements can be made.
“Leapfrog is a tool we’ve been able to use over the years to help improve the care that we provide,” said PeaceHealth spokesperson Randy Querin. “Looking at what they’re looking at helps us know what we should be looking at.”
To learn more about LeapFrog’s safety grades and to view the results yourself, visit www.hospitalsafetygrade.org.