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Virginia top three in national report card on hospital patient safety

Photo Credit: Peshkova

Virginia hospitals are again being recognized in a national ranking that focuses on health care quality and patient safety performance.

The Fall 2019 Hospital Safety Grade scores from the Leapfrog Group show that Virginia is ranked third overall in the nation. Virginia was second in the nation in the Spring 2019 rankings, and third overall in the Fall 2018 scores. The state rankings reflect the number of “A” graded hospitals in a state. In all, 38 Virginia hospitals received “A” grades from Leapfrog, a national health care patient safety ranking organization. Virginia has consistently earned strong scores in the Leapfrog rankings, having moved up from fifth overall among states in the Spring 2018 grading period. These scores showing that Virginia hospitals are among the best states in the nation in terms of patient safety are another positive reflection of the ongoing work being done by Virginia’s community hospitals and health systems to enhance health care quality, safety, and service for patients.

“Virginia hospitals and health systems are committed to the work of making the Commonwealth the healthiest state in the nation,” said Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton. “Many steps have been taken as part of the ongoing efforts to achieve this goal. That includes hospitals’ financial investment in covering state costs associated with Medicaid expansion, a growing focus on addressing population health and the social factors that impact community wellness, and a continuing emphasis on enhancing health care quality, safety, service, value, and experience. The latest Leapfrog scores, as well as other accolades earned by Virginia hospitals, demonstrate that work is having a positive impact in the Commonwealth.”

In addition to the latest Leapfrog scores, more than a dozen Virginia hospitals earned places on the “America’s Best Hospitals for 2019” annual list compiled by Healthgrades, including two hospitals each that made the “America’s 50 Best Hospitals” (top 1 percent of hospitals) and “America’s 100 Best Hospitals” (top 2 percent of hospitals) lists, respectively. The annual “Best Hospitals” list includes 250 hospitals representing the top 5 percent of hospitals in the nation for overall clinical excellence that year, according to Healthgrades. This year’s list was released in February.

Last year, Virginia earned the “2018 HRET HIIN Quality Award” presented by the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Health Research & Education Trust (HRET). The award recognizes exemplary dedication and leadership in advancing the quality and safety of health care for patients. And in 2017, Virginia was ranked among the top 10 states in an assessment of health care quality as measured by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Health care quality and patient safety improvement is a strategic priority for VHHA and its member hospitals and health systems. VHHA’s Center for Healthcare Excellence, which was launched in January 2015 under the guidance of the VHHA Board of Directors, serves as a facilitator for collaborative efforts on a wide range of quality and safety improvement initiatives.

Through the Center, Virginia hospitals have been engaged with the Hospital Improvement Innovation Networks (HIIN) program. The HIIN work builds on momentum from the predecessor Hospital Engagement Networks (HEN) initiative that in its second phase resulted in the prevention of 1,851 patient harm incidents at 35 participating hospitals (equivalent to more than $16.5 million in health care costs savings) across the Commonwealth.

In addition to pursuing organizational improvement, Virginia’s hospitals have also demonstrated a commitment to transparency by making the Quality and Patient Safety Scorecards tool publicly available online through VHHA’s website. The scorecards measure quality and patient safety performance in Virginia’s hospitals on metrics including health care-associated infections, patient safety, hospital readmission rates, mortality data, patient satisfaction, and the efficiency of Medicare spending per beneficiary.