Paulding County’s hospital received the highest grade possible for patient safety in a twice-yearly rating of general acute-care hospitals in the U.S.
The Leapfrog Group — which advocates for public access to hospital quality and safety data — recently released its fall 2019 Hospital Safety Grades that rate hospitals with “A” through “F” scores based on their patient safety records.
The Safety Grades report focuses on preventable errors, accidents, injuries and infections at hospitals.
Out of 76 total hospitals rated in the state, WellStar Paulding was among 19 Georgia hospitals to receive “A” grades for a variety of safety measures between mid-2016 and 2019, according to the report.
WellStar Paulding earned above-average ratings on prevention of such infections as MRSA, blood and urinary tract, and surgical site infection after colon surgery.
Other areas in which it scored above average was in the categories of Practices to Prevent Errors (such as handwashing, safe medication administration); Safety Problems (dangerous bed sores, tracking and reducing risks to patients); Problems with Surgery (surgical wounds split open, dangerous blood clot); and Doctors, Nurses and Hospital Staff (enough qualified nurses, use of specially trained doctors in ICU).
WellStar Paulding is a 112-bed hospital in Hiram and is part of a network of 11 hospitals throughout north and central Georgia owned and operated by Marietta-based WellStar Health System.
Nationally, the Leapfrog report shows the highest percentage of “A” hospitals were in Maine at 59%, and Utah and Virginia with 56% each. Georgia had 26% of its hospitals earn “A” grades.
Three states, including Wyoming, Alaska and North Dakota, had no “A” hospitals, the release stated.
A national expert panel reviews the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, which receives guidance from the Armstrong Institute, the release stated.
The Safety Grade is peer-reviewed, transparent and free to the public. It is updated every six months in the fall and spring, the release stated.
“It shares critical patient safety information to consumers, in an easily digestible way, so that they can make informed decisions about where they seek care,” the release stated.
The grades also demonstrate “improvement from a problem first made prominent” in a landmark report released 20 years ago titled, “To Err Is Human.”
The 1999 report by what is now the National Academy of Medicine revealed nearly 100,000 die annually because of preventable medical errors, with subsequent research suggesting the number may be twice as high, the release stated..
Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, said, “In stark contrast to 20 years ago, we’re now able to pinpoint where the problems are, and that allows us to grade hospitals.”
“It also allows us to better track progress. Encouragingly, we are seeing fewer deaths from the preventable errors we monitor in our grading process,” Binder said.
For more information about the Safety Grades, as well as individual hospital grades and state rankings, visit hospitalsafetygrade.org and follow The Leapfrog Group on Facebook and Twitter.