How safe is your hospital? Only 1 Valley hospital earns ‘A’ in national report card

Kaweah Delta Medical Center
Kaweah Delta Medical Center

Only one Valley hospital earned a top grade for patient safety in a nationwide report card released Wednesday.

Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia was one of 823 hospitals nationwide to earn an “A” from the Leapfrog Group, which gave grades to 2,639 hospitals nationwide. The group gives report-card grades to hospitals twice a year, in spring and fall.

Kaweah has earned an “A” grade since spring 2015.

Kassie Waters, quality and patient safety manager at Kaweah, said the hospital is committed to learning best practices. National speakers were invited to its annual patient safety symposium, held this year in March. About 300 staff, nurses and doctors attended. “Participation in these types of programs allows us to stay ahead,” Waters said. “We’re being proactive versus reactive. That really affects our program and you can see it in our grade.”

Kaweah Delta scored high on infection prevention, the use of computerized physician orders and staffing its intensive care unit with doctors trained in critical-care medicine, said Missy Danforth, vice president for hospital ratings at the Leapfrog Group.

Six Valley hospitals earned a “B” for spring 2017: Adventist Medical Center in Hanford and the Adventist hospital in Selma, Clovis Community Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente-Fresno, Madera Community Hospital and Sierra View Medical Center in Porterville.

Fresno’s two largest hospitals – Community Regional Medical Center and Saint Agnes Medical Center – each earned a “C.” Both earned a “C” in fall 2016.

Tulare Regional Medical Center, which earned an “F” in fall 2016, improved to a “D.”

Danforth said Tulare Regional is slowly improving. “It definitely seems like they’re working on some things.”

Tulare scored low on patient experience, such as nurse communication with patients and responsiveness to patients, Danforth said. But Tulare scored well on central line blood infections, she said.

The Leapfrog Group said that out of 2,639 hospitals rated nationwide this spring, 706 earned a “B,” 933 earned a “C,” 167 got a “D” and 10 flunked.

The safety grades show how well local and regional hospitals protect patients from accidents, injuries and infections, the Leapfrog Group said. Hospitals are evaluated in several areas, including infections in the intensive care unit, foreign objects left in bodies after surgery, patient falls, pressure ulcers, and nurse and doctor communication.

The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit, uses 30 national performance measures of patient safety that are collected and reported by The Leapfrog Group and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It also uses information from the American Hospital Association’s Annual Survey and Health Information Technology Supplement.

Barbara Anderson: 559-441-6310, @beehealthwriter