NWA hospitals earn ‘A’ grades

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 1,128 views 

Four Northwest Arkansas hospitals received top grades for safety this fall, according to nonprofit The Leapfrog Group.

Northwest Medical Center – Bentonville, Siloam Springs Regional Hospital, both of Springdale-based healthcare provider Northwest Health, and Mercy Hospital Fort Smith and Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas, all received an A Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade for fall 2021. An initiative of The Leapfrog Group, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety.

“Patient safety is an essential part of healthcare, and I commend our Mercy caregivers for making it such a high priority in everything we do,” said Eric Pianalto, president of Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas. “Many thanks to our team for making another ‘A’ possible.”

This was the fifth consecutive year Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas and the 11th consecutive year Mercy Hospital Fort Smith received the A grade.

The four area hospitals were among the 11 in Arkansas that earned the grade, according to a news release.

“I’m so proud of all the hard work our teams put in to improve our hospital safety grades,” said Shanda Guenther, Northwest Health Market chief quality officer. “This ultimately reflects Northwest Health’s focus on patient safety and dedication to providing quality care to the community we serve here in Northwest Arkansas.”

Northwest Medical Center – Springdale and Washington Regional Medical Center received a B grade, while Baptist Health – Fort Smith received an F grade, according to The Leapfrog Group. Asked about the grade, Kim Miller, region president for Baptist Health, explained that similar sites provide differing results, and metrics reflected in the grade are from before Baptist Health acquired the Fort Smith hospital.

“In fact, 75% of the clinical quality metrics utilized are from 2017 and 2018 before we took over,” she added. “We have not participated in Leapfrog in the past, and this does impact your score. We are now enrolled with Leapfrog, and once that data is available and submitted, the score should improve.

“Performace improvement efforts are ongoing, and significant progress has been made in many areas of focus,” Miller said. “Providing the highest quality of care continues to be our utmost priority.”

According to the release, The Leapfrog Group assigns grades to hospitals nationwide based on more than 30 performance measures reflecting errors, injuries, accidents and infections along with the systems hospitals have in place to prevent harm to patients. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is the only hospital ratings program based exclusively on hospital prevention of medical errors and harm to patients, the release shows. The grading system is peer-reviewed and available at hospitalsafetygrade.org. Grades are updated twice annually, in the spring and fall.