Mercy Medical Center Merced received favorable feedback from a recent report released by the Leapfrog Group Hospital Safety Score — a program that grades hospitals on the overall performance in keeping patients safe.
The report, which covered data from 2012 and the first quarter of 2013, gave Mercy an “A” rating.
Leapfrog graded more than 2,500 general hospitals in the United States using hospital safety data on infections, injuries and medication errors.
According to Mercy Medical Center officials, this is the second consecutive year the hospital received an A. The hospital had received a C in previous years.
Dr. Robert Streeter, vice president of medical affairs, said the improvement is due in large part to three initiatives the hospital has worked on.
First, Mercy began using computerized physician-order entry, in which all data and instructions for patient treatment is recorded electronically in an attempt to reduce communication and interpretation errors.
The hospital is also working with the March of Dimes Foundation to reduce early births, Streeter added. Mercy has also upped its intensive care unit services by bringing in additional intensive care specialists, he said.
The score comes as good news to the hospital after it was fined $50,000 in October for a 2012 hospital incident in which a nurse burned the hand of a 3-month-old baby by improperly using a lamp, according to a state report.
Linda Silva, the public reporting liaison at Mercy, said the Leapfrog score can highlight the hospital’s good work that is sometimes overshadowed by the errors.
“Our quality department does great work,” Silva said. “We go out to the floors, review charts and talk to the staff about providing the best quality care, so everyone is aware of the efforts.”
Streeter said patient safety is a priority not only to the quality department but to everyone who works at Mercy.
“Quality is not a department in the hospital, it’s the way we do care,” Streeter said. “So we make sure that everyone delivers the kind of care we want our families, friends and neighbors to receive.”
The grades, available at www.hospitalsafetyscore.org, allow patients to compare hospitals in their area for free. The national nonprofit’s scores are calculated by a nine-member expert panel.
Memorial Medical Center of Modesto also received an A. Doctors Medical Center of Modesto received a B, while Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock received a C. Five California hospitals received failing grades, including Madera Community Hospital.
According to Streeter, reports such as these allow transparency in hospital care, which can be of great benefit to patients.
“I’m in favor with this kind of information being available to the public,” he said. “It gets the conversation started; patients can talk to their doctors and together make informed decisions.”