WHEELING - Wheeling Hospital officials announced Tuesday the facility received an "A" grade for patient safety from a group known as Leapfrog.
During a press conference, Ron Violi, hospital chief executive officer, described the grade as a "big deal."
"The Leapfrog Group is one of the oldest and most prestigious in the country when it comes to rating quality care in hospitals," Violi said. "They've been doing this forever. ... They are very, very tough on the way they grade. 'A's' are hard to come by and I'm proud to say that here at Wheeling Hospital, we received an "A" from the Leapfrog Group."
File photo/Wheeling Hospital received an “A” grade for patient safety from the Leapfrog Group. The hospital was the only one in the region to earn a rating above
“C” in that category.
For its Spring 2014 report, Leapfrog used data from 2010-12 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention related to hospital's patient care such as infection rates and fall rates.
"No one in the region has been rated at that level," Violi noted.
Hospital spokesman Gregg Warren said the hospital did not solicit by the grade.
According to Leapfrog, to determine the grades for its Hospital Safety Scores data from the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the CDC and the CMS are used "to produce a single score representing a hospital's overall performance in keeping patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors."
Leapfrog also used data from the American Hospital Association's annual survey.
In response to the Leapfrog grades, Lisa Simon, senior vice president and chief financial officer for Ohio Valley Health Services and Education Corp., parent company of OVMC and EORH, said she cannot speak to the accuracy of Leapfrog's report because the data is from 2010-12.
"We are a safe hospital that provides excellent, quality care and has done so for 124 years," Simon said. "There are over 70 rating agencies of health care providers and they all have many methods of determining scores. We are pleased that when we review our monthly patient survey results; when asked, 'Would you recommend this hospital to others?' Our scores have dramatically increased over the last four years to very high levels."
Melissa Marco, spokeswoman for Reynolds Memorial Hospital, said her hospital has received an "A" rating when it has participated in the Leapfrog survey process in the past.
"Reynolds Memorial Hospital provides a high and safe quality of care to our patients. We did not participate in the Leapfrog survey process in the last year. When we did participate, we were awarded an 'A' rating. We were awarded an 'A' rating in 2011-12 by the group. We are routinely surveyed and have received 'A' ratings from Medicare. When surveying patients, over 95 percent of the patients surveyed would recommend Reynolds Memorial Hospital to friends and family members," Marco said.
Dr. Angelo Georges, Wheeling Hospital chief medical officer, said Wheeling Hospital set out to try things that were innovative to improve patient safety. For example, hand sanitizing stations were installed at the hospital entrances to help improve infection rates, along with enforcing visitation policies regarding children.
"This award, getting an 'A' in this, makes me extremely happy and exemplifies what we've been trying to achieve," Georges said.
Heidi Porter, director of Quality Management, said Wheeling Hospital has received other grades from Leapfrog in the past, including a "B" grade, for patient safety. This is the first time it has received an "A" grade, she said. The Leapfrog Group looks at different measures of care: process, which includes preventing infections; structure, which includes the environment in which the care is being given; and outcome measures.
"Patients come here and trust us, and we want to make sure they leave here in better condition than they left," she said.
Of 2,522 hospitals given a safety score, Wheeling Hospital was among the 804 that received an "A" grade. Also, 668 hospitals received a "B;" 878 received a "C;" 150 scored a "D;" and 22 received an "F" grade.