Hospital rises from the bottom to earn top mark

A national organization that rates hospitals on patient safety gave Putnam Community Medical Center an A rating this week, four years after giving the hospital a failing grade.

The Leapfrog Group has administered the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade since 2012 to shine a spotlight on the large number of people who die annually due to preventable mistakes in hospitals. According to the Journal of Patient Safety, more than 400,000 people each year die due to these mistakes.

“The Safety Grade assigns an ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ ‘D’ or ‘F’ grade to hospitals across the country based on their performance in preventing medical errors, injuries, accidents, infections and other harms to patients in their care,” Putnam Community said in a statement.

Hospital CEO Mark Dooley said the medical center’s high marks for patient safety is a result of steps the hospital has taken to improve since Hospital Corporation of America purchased Putnam Community in 2015.

“For Putnam Community Medical Center, this is a testament to the major leaps we’ve taken in providing care for our community,” Dooley said. “In 2015, before the HCA Healthcare investment in PCMC, we were rated an F hospital by Leapfrog, who has since tightened their standards in grading community hospitals.”

Dooley said several factors have made the A rating possible, including the hard work of hospital staff and a firm commitment from Hospital Corporation of America leading the charge.

“I would say one of the biggest factors that helps us is the commitment of our parent company, HCA, to make sure that not only this hospital, but every one of their hospitals provides the highest quality of care the people in those communities deserve,” he said.

To earn an A rating, hospitals must meet strict criteria developed by a national expert panel, which uses 28 measures of hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,600 hospitals in the country.

“To be recognized nationally as an A hospital is an accomplishment the whole community should take pride in,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “Hospitals that earn an A grade are making it a priority to protect patients from preventable medical harm and error.”

Dooley said hospital staff has made a concentrated effort to put the needs and priorities of patients first each day, and the medical center’s improved rating is a testament to the staff’s efforts.

“They are the ones on the front lines doing the work every day. They are the ones who truly make the difference with every patient,” Dooley said. “I think that is what brings you from an F to an A. It is that focus on every patient, every time, every day.

Dooley said while he is tasked with setting the hospital’s vision, culture and direction, it has been the work and commitment of the staff who pour their energy into their job each day that made the A rating possible.

“It has been a lot of hard work and a lot of focus by a lot of people, and it is a great accomplishment for our staff,” he said. “It feels great from a leadership standpoint, but I think and I hope that it feels even better for our staff in the hospital.”

Palatka Daily News

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