Since 2012, Leapfrog Group has been issuing hospital safety guides twice a year. Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle is one of 23 hospitals within the nation to receive the top rating — straight A’s — every year and the only hospital in Mississippi to earn the top rating this fall.
“This shows how much we value safety,” said Dr. James Martin, chief medical official at Baptist. “Many hospitals have a bunch of good doctors and equipment and lots of services, but none prioritize safety like we do.”
The Leapfrog Group is an independent national watchdog organization driven by employers and other purchasers of healthcare.
The grades are assigned to more than 2,600 general acute-care hospitals across the nation twice annually based on up to 28 national performance measures, such as:
- Preventing surgical errors, falls and patient injuries
- Protection from common hospital infections, including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile (C. diff)
- The responsiveness of the hospital staff
- Communication about medicines
- Communication with nurses and doctors
Leapfrog gathers information from public sources, such as Centers of Disease Control and Prevention reports, as well as information provided by over participating hospitals to put together their ratings, said Belinda Sanderson, director of quality at Baptist.
“Infection data they pull is what we report to the CDC,” she said. “They also look at hospital stays, readmissions, healthcare-acquired conditions, patient safety and patient satisfaction scores, things of that nature.”
The fall hospital safety grades were given to 2,901 hospitals. About two years ago, 30 hospitals had straight A’s, Martin said.
“The pandemic took a toll on those scores,” he said. “Lots of hospitals get an A occasionally, but we’re one of 23 to get straight A’s consistently.”
The hospital’s culture of doing what’s best for the patients is one of the ways it is able to maintain the top safety rating, Sanderson said.
“Our staff provides information on best practices and works to ensure that those are part of the everyday routine and sustained throughout the year,” she said.
Hospital staff is very engaged in promoting safety, Sanderson said.
“We have a great leadership team that does a good job of communicating goals and opportunities,” she said. “We have a shared vision and commitment for quality and safety.”
Both Martin and Sanderson noted that Baptist’s staff undergoes safety training on a regular basis throughout the year.
“There’s hand-on training and lots of stuff online everyone has to complete,” Martin said.
As director of quality, Sanderson said her team looks to sustain improvements the hospital has made in patient care and satisfaction. Routinely scheduled meetings are held in which the staff discusses patient safety and quality. Departments also take on improvement projects to enhance patient safety.
“We’ve always working to grow our services and make sure we are aligned with the needs of the community,” she said. “I’m glad we’re a hometown hospital and we have scored straight A’s since Leapfrog began.
“I’m really proud. The staff is really proud,” Sanderson said of the grades. “Sustaining our best practices will keep us there.”
When making healthcare decisions, patients should use all available tools at their disposal, such as talking with friends and family and consulting with healthcare providers, said Timothy H. Moore, president/CEO of Mississippi Hospital Association.
“The Leapfrog rating system is one tool patients may use when making health care decisions like choosing a hospital,” he said. “Baptist Golden Triangle’s high score is to be commended and shows the hospital’s commitment to quality and safety.”