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Two New River Valley hospitals received the top grades from the nonprofit Leapfrog Group.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
A national rating system that grades hospitals based on their safety records has assigned A’s and B’s to eight facilities in the Roanoke and New River valleys.
The A’s went to Carilion New River Valley Medical Center and LewisGale Hospital Montgomery.
The region’s other hospitals received B’s in the latest scores released today by The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization that advocates for patient safety.
Although hospital ratings are compiled by many organizations — from U.S. News & World Report to the federal government — Leapfrog’s report is the only analysis that looks exclusively at medical errors made in hospitals.
As many as 440,000 Americans die each year from preventable hospital mistakes, Leapfrog said in announcing the scores.
While hospitals are making some progress in reducing errors, accidents, injuries and infections that kill or hurt patients, Leapfrog President and CEO Leah Binder said more needs to be done.
“We are burying a population the size of Miami every year from medical errors that can be prevented,” Binder said.
“During this time of rapid health care transformation, it’s vital that we work together to arm patients with the information they need and tell doctors and hospitals that the time for change is now.”
Of the 2,539 hospitals included in the survey, 813 earned an A and 661 a B. There were 893 C’s, 150 D’s and 22 F’s.
Leapfrog uses 28 measures to grade the hospitals, taken from government data and its own surveys. Some of the problems measured include foreign objects left in someone following surgery, falls, post-surgery breathing failure and wounds that split open after an operation.
In a teleconference Tuesday, officials with the group said a C grade is a red flag for consumers, and in some cases a B could be cause for concern.
“Even when they get an A, there are areas for plenty of improvement,” said Missy Danforth, Leapfrog’s senior director of hospital ratings.
Two LewisGale hospitals, in Alleghany and Pulaski counties, received Cs in the last survey but improved their grades to B’s this time.
“At LewisGale Regional Health System we are continually looking for ways to improve our safety processes and we are extremely pleased that LewisGale Hospital Montgomery received a top ranking,” spokesman Joy Sutton said.
“Our commitment to this effort is also evidenced by the fact that two of our hospitals had improved Leapfrog safety scores and all of our hospitals consistently score at or above the top percentiles for CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] quality measures.”
Carilion Clinic operates eight hospitals in the region, but only four received scores. That’s because Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital and nearby Carilion Roanoke Community Hospital operate as one entity and received a single score, spokesman Eric Earnhart said. Three of the system’s other hospitals are in categories not rated by Leapfrog.
No hospital in Virginia received an F. There were two D’s, for Halifax Regional Health System in South Boston and Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center in Emporia.
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