Indian River Medical Center wins 'A' grade for patient safety
Indian River Medical Center got great news last week: The highly respected national rating service and healthcare watch dog Leapfrog gave the hospital an A grade for patient safety so far this year.
Fewer than a third of the 2,652 hospitals rated in the U.S. got an A grade this year. Florida hospitals ranked ninth in the country with 61 of 156 hospitals receiving A grades.
Last year, IRMC got a grade of C, which put it in the bottom 50 percent of hospitals rated. But in the past six to nine months, the hospital staff dedicated itself to improving patient safety, and the result is the impressive rating of “excellent,” which was just released.
To grade the hospitals, a panel of eight doctors and medical researchers from prestigious medical schools – including Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, the University of Michigan and Vanderbilt – looked at Medicare statistics and the hospital’s own reporting.
“Indian River Medical Center is doing a pretty good job and that’s worth being proud of,” said physician Ashish Jha, the Harvard representative on the Leapfrog expert panel.
In 11 of 28 patient safety categories – including everything from preventing bed sores to proper insertion and removal of tubes to the repeated washing of hands – IRMC’s score equaled that of the best-performing hospitals in the country.
Notable areas of improvement were ICU physician staffing, blood clot prevention and port sterilization. Emergency Room care, which the hospital is struggling to improve, was not part of the Leapfrog rating.
The Leapfrog web posting was met with applause and cheers by hospital leadership. CEO Jeff Susi credited the hospital’s patient-centered focus with achieving the top score for patient safety.
Chief Medical Officer Chuck Mackett credited “the daily hard work and dedication of the medical, nursing quality and support staff” with the improved ranking.
“The Leapfrog A grade is a testament to IRMC’s incredible teamwork,” said Mackett.
The Leapfrog website says this about the importance of the ratings: “Some people do more research on what car to buy than what hospital to go to for medical care. The Hospital Safety Score provides data and research to help you make informed decisions about a critical aspect of your hospital stay – safety.”
Last week, as luck would have it, Jha, the Leapfrog panel member from Harvard, was in Vero Beach visiting his mother-in-law when she had to be rushed to the IRMC Emergency Room.
He went to the hospital with her and, after a wait of several hours and some ER confusion over diagnosis, Jha described the emergency room care as “somewhat delayed and not exactly optimal.
“It was not terrible but there’s room for improvement,” said Jha.