Mercy Medical Center in Merced received an A grade in patient safety for the fourth consecutive time in a new report released Wednesday.
In the San Joaquin Valley, most hospitals either obtained the top grade or fell to the bottom of the list.
Memorial Medical Center and Doctors Medical Center in Modesto also earned A’s. Memorial Medical Center took a leap forward after having received a B last fall.
The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit organization that aims to provide quality and safety information on health care, graded more than 2,500 hospitals in the United States, including 248 in California. The grades were based on hospitals’ ability to prevent errors, injuries, accidents and infections.
The biannual report showed that while hospitals have made improvements in surgery safety processes since fall 2014, overall performance on safety outcomes, including preventing errors, accidents and infections, has not improved significantly.
Mercy Medical Center was among 782 other hospitals in the nation that received A grades.
Dr. Robert Streeter, vice president of medical affairs at Mercy Medical Center, said the continuous improvement is a validation of the work hospital staff is doing.
One of the areas where Mercy has shown the most progress is in its transition to computer order entry.
The hospital uses 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. This information can also be shared with pharmacies.
Marny Fern, interim director of clinical quality improvement at Doctors Medical Center, said the hospital has several initiatives that support a safe hospital environment. These include a hand hygiene program and programs that aim at reducing pressure ulcers, falls, and both central line and urinary tract infections.
“While scoring methods differ by organization and none provide a complete picture of the care provided to patients, we use this and other publicly available information to continually improve our processes, training and the way we deliver care to our patients,” Fern said in statement.
Twenty hospitals in the country earned failing scores. Among them was Madera Community Hospital, which received an F for the fourth consecutive time in the last two years.
The hospital earned the lowest score of all hospitals for its lack of trained doctors in the intensive care unit. The hospital also scored low for not having enough qualified nurses.
Evan Rayner, chief executive officer at Madera Community Hospital, said because the data used in the report is not the most recent, it does not reflect the hospital’s current standing. Rayner said that in a more recent internal analysis using indicators similar to those in the Leapfrog report, the hospital earned about a C.
“We now have dedicated intensivists and we have adopted patients safety standards that were not reflected in the report,” Rayner said.
Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock also earned a D.
Pennie Rorex, a spokeswoman at Emanuel, said hospital staff is working in implementing several initiatives to help improve the patient experience. One of their areas of focus has been reducing the incidence of hospital-acquired infections.
For example, the hospital has seen a 27 percent reduction in catheter-associated urinary tract infections from 2012 to 2014.
“Our performance improvement efforts are ongoing, and we have zero (catheter-associated urinary tract infections) for the first quarter of 2015,” Rorex wrote in an email.
For more information on other hospitals, go to www.hospitalsafetyscore.org.
Sun-Star staff writer Ana B. Ibarra can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ab_ibarra