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

Kaweah Health Medical Center has received  an “A,” the top Hospital Safety Grade for spring 2022 given by the Leapfrog Group, an independent national watchdog organization. The score, released today, is a national distinction recognizing Kaweah Health’s achievements in protecting patients from preventable harm and error in the hospital.

“Safety is our top priority and this ‘A’ recognizes that. 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 3,000 general hospitals across the country based on more than 30 national performance measures reflecting errors, accidents, injuries, and infections, as well as systems hospitals have in place to prevent harm. Last Fall, Kaweah Health raised its safety score from a “B” to “A,” which makes the Spring grade its second consecutive “A” grade.

Kaweah Health is among the 33 percent of general acute care hospitals graded in the U.S. that earned an “A” in Leapfrog’s bi-annual grading. Twenty-four percent received a “B,” 36 percent received a “C,” 7 percent received a “D,” and less than 1 percent received 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.

“As our healthcare system continues to feel the strain of the pandemic, I thank the workforce and leadership of Kaweah Health for sustained commitment to patient safety, day in and day out,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “An ‘A’ Safety Grade is an outstanding achievement, and one that is not possible without a 24/7 effort by the entire health care workforce to protect patients from harm. This community should be proud.”

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 (doctor communication and discharge communication).

Sandra Volchko, Kaweah Health’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.

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