Beebe Healthcare’s ‘A’ safety grade a big deal

June 3, 2020

Beebe Healthcare recently received the top safety grade of “A” from the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., focused for over 20 years on “driving giant leaps forward in the quality and safety of American healthcare.” Why should you care about this “A” rating from this group with a funny name?

When you need the acute-care services of your local hospital for the care of a chronic condition, the treatment of an injury, or the performance of a surgical procedure, for example, you hope and expect that you will receive excellent care. You also expect that the hospital will help you get better, not hurt you as a result of an error or the care you receive. As Leapfrog concludes: “Some hospitals are safer than others.” Hospitalized patients are not always aware - but should be - of the potential risks, the things that can go wrong, and the errors that can occur if the hospital doesn’t have a commitment to maintaining a strong “culture of safety.” 

Of the 2,600 hospitals throughout the nation that received the Spring 2020 Safety Grade from The Leapfrog Group, only 33 percent received an “A.” Beebe Healthcare is in the top 33 percent of the nation’s hospitals when measured by the Leapfrog Group, which bases its rating on 28 national patient safety measures. These measures include both process and outcome measures, and are derived from the federal Medicare and Medicaid hospital reporting requirements administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Leapfrog Hospital Survey.

Here are some examples of safety concerns you should have when entering any hospital for care; Leapfrog has rated Beebe Above Average in these safe care practices, leading to its “A” rating:

• Central Line Associated Blood Stream Infection - patients with a central line are at high risk for developing a dangerous infection in the blood.

• Surgical Site Infection - during colon surgery, a surgical site infection could lead to death.

• Retained Surgical Items - surgical sponges left in the body after surgery, for example, can cause serious illness or death.

• Safe Medication Administration - the use of Bar Code Medication Administration has proven to reduce medication errors and related complications.

• Handwashing - a proven safe care practice that leads to a reduction in infections.

• Minimizing bed sores (pressure ulcers) -  Beebe’s rate per 1,000 patient discharges (.20) is less than half the national average of .49.

• Patient falls with injury - Beebe’s fall with injury rate per 1,000 patient discharges (.08) is well below the national average of .436.

According to The Leapfrog Group, its national safety grading system of hospitals is intended to rate “how safe they are for their patients.” Beebe’s leadership team and the entire Beebe healthcare team is to be commended for their commitment to maintaining the safe care practices and consistent safe behaviors that are required to earn the Leapfrog Group’s “A” Safety Grade! As a retired executive of The Joint Commission – the organization that evaluates the quality and safety of the nation’s hospitals, including Beebe – I know what excellent patient safety looks like, and I also know that there are inherent risks and hazards that can threaten the safety of patient care. As evidenced by Leapfrog’s “A” Safety Grade, Beebe is doing a lot of things the right way to keep patients safe from harm and to allow them to have an excellent hospital experience. Congratulations, Beebe Team!

Chuck Mowll, LFACHE, is president, Patient Safety Coaches Academy and former executive vice president of The Joint Commission.

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