Safety grades are in for five South Mississippi hospitals, and one clearly is leading the pack.
Since 2012, the Leapfrog Group has assigned A, B, C, D and F letter grades to general acute-care hospitals in the United States. The grades focus on patient safety in areas such as errors, accidents and infections.
Garden Park Medical Center in Gulfport received the only “A” among South Mississippi hospitals for the Spring 2017 report and was the only Coast hospital to achieve an “A” in the fall.
Memorial Hospital at Gulfport improved from a “C” in the fall to a “B” in the spring.
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Merit Health in Biloxi had received an “A” on every report from 2012 until April 2016. Since then the hospital has a “C” rating.
Ocean Springs Hospital and Singing River Medical Center have carried a “C” rating for the past three years.
Hancock Medical Center in Hancock County was not included in the survey.
Mississippi is ranked 16th best in the nation this year for hospital safety, with 39 percent of the participating hospitals rated an “A.” That’s second best among Southern states, surpassed only by Virginia.
The report shows 13 Mississippi hospitals received an “A,” five a “B,” 13 a “C” and two a “D.” Mississippi has 70 hospitals, and the other 37 did not participate in the voluntarily rating system.
Randy Rogers started his job as the new chief executive officer at Garden Park about the same time the spring results were released. “I am proud that Garden Park has been honored with another ‘A’ for doing what we set out to do every day — the right thing for the patient,” he said.
With consumers paying more attention to health care issues, Louisiana hospitals shout out their high Leapfrog ratings on billboards.
“We’re hoping to do that as well,” said Angela Juzang, director of marketing and business development at Garden Park. One reason for success at Garden Park is patient safety is their top priority, she said — and they work on their rating in several ways:
▪ Computerized physician order entry. The doctors personally enter patient information into a computer, making it legible and eliminating the need to enter it twice, said Debra Rivers, director of quality.
▪ Skilled nursing and backup. Cheryl Thompson, chief nursing officer, said nurses validate the doctors’ orders and an automated medicine dispensing cabinet scans the drug, scans the patient and gives warning if anything is incorrect. “Checks and balances all along the way,” she said, is key.
▪ ICU staffing. When the Leapfrog survey showed deficiencies, “We made sure we improved that process,” Rivers said. They now have intensivists, who are trained to handle critical cases, on staff 24/7.
▪ Operating room. Safe surgical practices include new equipment like a sponge detector that lets the OR staff know if a sponge is left inside during an operation. They still use the traditional sponge count method and a trio of safe surgical practices, said Rivers — “The correct patient, the correct procedure, the correct body part.”
▪ Incident response. When a safety incident occurs, a team meets in a day or two to review what happened, followed by a Serious Event Analysis within 45 days, said Rea Lenz, risk manager
There are reasons behind the survey numbers that are released twice a year. Garden Park has the only geriatric psychiatric facility on the Coast, Lenz said, and patients fall more readily than other areas. That makes safety issues higher than average.
“So far, we’ve been pleased with the increase in public awareness and hospitals’ commitment to solving this terrible problem,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of Leapfrog. “But we need to accelerate the pace of change, because too many people are still getting harmed or killed.” More than 1,000 people a day still die from preventable errors, the organization says.
Scores for Coast hospitals
These are the Leapfrog grades for five Coast hospitals for the current report and past three years:
Garden Park Medical
Merit Health Biloxi
Ocean Springs Hospital
Singing River Hospital
Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade
Hospitals rated for safety
The five Coast hospitals rated for safety, with best scores on top in each category and by alphabetical order:
Merit Health 0
Memorial Hospital 0.471
Ocean Springs 3.79
Singing River 3.79
Garden Park Not available
Best hospital score 0.00
Average hospital score 0.862
Worst hospital score 3.968
Problems with surgery
Garden Park 0
Ocean Springs 0
Singing River 0
Memorial Hospital 0.167
Merit Health 0.229
Best hospital score 0.000
Average hospital score 0.025
Worst hospital score 0.386
Practices to prevent errors
Garden Park 100
Singing River 65
Ocean Springs 65
Memorial Hospital Declined to report
Merit Health Declined to report
Best hospital score 100
Average hospital score 75.80
Worst hospital score 5
Singing River 0.09
Ocean Springs 0.09
Memorial Hospital 0.26
Merit Health 0.59
Garden Park 1.51
Best hospital score 0.03
Average hospital score 0.44
Worst hospital score 2.28
Doctors, Nurses and Hospital Staff
Garden Park 40.00
All other hospitals declined to report
Best hospital score 40.00
Average hospital score 37.43
Worst hospital score 0.00
Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade