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Ouachita County Medical Center Earns Grade A Safety Ranking

June 25, 2019

CAMDEN — Arkansas Democrat Gazette, May 17, 2019


Arkansas is ranked 45th among states for hospital safety, according to a biannual report released Wednesday by a nonprofit health care watchdog.


Just two of 29 Arkansas hospitals assessed — Ouachita County Medical Center in Camden and Mercy Hospital in Ft. Smith — earned an A rating in the spring hospital safety ranking report issued by The Leapfrog Group.


Nationally, 32% of 2,600 hospitals evaluated received A grades, the highest rating.


Several of the state’s hospitals, including Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pine Bluff, Baptist Health’s hospitals in Fort Smith and Little Rock, CHI St. Vincent Infirmary in Little Rock and Northwest Medical Center-Springdale earned D grades. National Park Medical Center in Hot Springs earned the state’s worst ranking with a grade of F.


Among all hospitals ranked, 6% had D ratings and fewer than 1% had F ratings, a release said.

“Hospitals don’t all have the same track record, so it really matters which hospital people choose,” said Leapfrog Group President and CEO Leah Binder in a statement accompanying the report. “The good news is that tens of thousands of lives have been saved because of progress on patient safety. The bad news is that there’s still a lot of needless death and harm in American hospitals.”


As compared on average to A-rated hospitals, patients at D- and F-ranked hospitals had 92% higher risks of avoidable death related to safety issues, such as falls, infections, error-prevention practices and surgical complications, the report found.


In an accompanying white paper from the Johns Hopkins Medicine Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, researchers estimated that 161,250 deaths occur annually related to such safety problems, and that around 50,000 of those lives could be saved each year if B-, C-, D- and F-rated hospitals were A hospitals.


The ranking assessments look at policies and procedures — for example, hand-washing rules — as well as errors and complications, such as a piece of equipment being left inside a patient during surgery, or hospital-acquired infections.


Ratings were determined based on publicly available data, including information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and self-reported findings through a Leapfrog Group-conducted survey of about 2,000 hospitals. (Institutions weren’t penalized if they didn’t participate in the survey; some categories were marked as not applicable and publicly available information was weighted differently.)


Ouachita County Medical Center President/CEO Peggy Abbott said in a telephone interview that the 92-bed hospital’s A safety rating is “gratifying” and reflects safety practices and documentation of those practices.

She praised her quality services team’s daily engagement with charts, medications and data; surgeons who pay a lot of attention to both patients and documentation; and an emphasis on safety throughout hospital departments.


In the spring report, which used data collected in 2017, 2018 and earlier, Leapfrog operations director Erica Mobley said there wasn’t a lot of movement in the grades at many institutions since the last time the analysis was compiled in the fall.


“For hospitals that are doing well and getting an A, that’s great news, that they’re sustaining that performance. For hospitals that aren’t doing as well, it’s a little discouraging to see that there hasn’t been more improvement,” she said.


Some Arkansas hospitals with the lowest ratings — Jefferson Regional Medical Center, Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock, Northwest Medical Center-Springdale and National Park Medical Center — were outliers in this, dropping a grade in their safety ranking between the fall report and the findings released Wednesday.

Stromquist, Kat. (2019, May 16). State 45th in hospital safety filing; several facilities earn D grades.  Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

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