Kaweah Health nationally recognized with an ‘A’ in hospital safety

Kaweah Health Medical Center has earned an “A,” the top Hospital Safety Grade given by the Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit quality reporting organization. The score, released today, is a national distinction recognizing Kaweah Health’s achievements in protecting patients from harm and error in the hospital.

“This ‘A’ recognizes the improvements we’ve made in quality of care and patient safety. We’re proud of this honor, but our goal will always be to continue improving our performance for our patients,” said Gary Herbst, Chief Executive Officer of Kaweah Health.

The Leapfrog Group assigns an “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” or “F” grade to general hospitals across the country based on more than 30 national performance measures reflecting errors, injuries, accidents and infections, as well as systems hospitals have in place to prevent harm. Kaweah Health is among 928 of 2,901 general acute care hospitals graded in the U.S. that earned an “A” in Leapfrog’s bi-annual grading. Of those graded, 32 percent earned an “A,” 26 percent earned a “B,” 35 percent earned a “C,” seven percent a “D” and less than one percent an “F.” The safety grades are calculated by top patient safety experts, peer-reviewed, fully transparent, and free to the public at www.hospitalsafetyscore.org. They are updated every six months, once in the fall and once in the spring.

“An ‘A’ Safety Grade is a tremendous achievement, of which this community should be extremely proud,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “I thank the leadership and workforce of Kaweah Health for its commitment to prioritizing patients and their safety, especially during these trying times.”

The Visalia-based hospital raised its safety score from a B in Spring 2021. Overall, Kaweah Health improved to an A standing by:

  • Reducing its score in four of five Healthcare Acquired Infections included in the grade calculation. Those include Clostridium difficile (C. diff), along with infection in the blood, infection in the urinary tract and surgical site infection after colon surgery.
  • Continued strong execution of seven organizational safe practices including, a comprehensive hand hygiene program, safety culture measurement and improvement, bar code medication administration, ICU physician staffing, computerized provider order entry, etc.
  • Having better than national rates in post-operative complications and healthcare acquired conditions.
  • Improvements in two of five patient experience measures (staff responsiveness and discharge communication).

Sandra Volchko, Kaweah Delta’s Director of Quality & Patient Safety said the hospital is always evaluating best practices and implementing strategies to achieve the highest quality of care for patients. Those include efforts from the entire team, including everyone from doctors to nurses to pharmacists managing medications to housekeepers and facility staff working to keep the hospital clean and safe to prevent injuries and infections.

“It’s up to us to have processes in place, and we do, to make sure that when patients come into the hospital they don’t leave with something such as an infection or injury. We wouldn’t be an ‘A’ without those,” Volchko said.

Kaweah Health is a publicly-owned community healthcare organization that provides comprehensive health services to the greater Visalia region and Tulare County. With 5,100 employees and 700 medical staff, Kaweah Health is committed to meeting the community’s health needs through state-of-the-art medicine, high-quality preventive services and specialized health centers and clinics. For more information, visit www.kaweahhealth.org or follow Kaweah Health on Twitter and Facebook.

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  1. During this pandemic with so many folks causing you all to work harder, the fact that you got this high grade speaks volumes to your dedication. Thank you and well done.

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