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Eastern Carolina hospital officials react to safety rankings

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 8:08 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - The Leapfrog Group gives safety grades to hospitals across the country based on a variety of factors.

Hospitals in Eastern Carolina were given grades ranging from “A” to “F”, and WITN dove further into why hospitals were assessed the way they were.

“We did see some areas where we saw opportunity for improvement,” Jessie Tucker III, Wayne UNC Health Care president and CEO said.

Leapfrog says this is precisely the purpose of its hospital safety grading: to keep patients informed and make sure hospitals are transparent.

The nonprofit does the gradings for hospitals across the country twice a year. Wayne UNC Health Care scored an “A” this spring.

Hospitals are graded in five main areas: infections, problems with surgery, safety problems, practices to prevent errors, and doctors, nurses, and hospital staff.

“What we see is that hospitals, and certainly in North Carolina where we see such great performance, are really using this to hold themselves accountable,” Katie Stewart, Leapfrog director of healthcare ratings said.

Vidant’s grading ranged from “A” to “C.” For example, Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, or ECU Health, was scored a “C.”

Hospital leaders responded with a statement, saying, “We use rigorous methods to collect, measure and analyze safety and quality data. Transparency, patient and family centered care, and engagement of leaders, physicians, and staff are core strategies in this work. We are relentless in identifying opportunities for continuous improvement and implementing practices to achieve the very best outcomes for patients and families.”

For UNC Lenoir Health Care, its “A” rating is a sign that its strives toward improvement have been worth it.

“We have been working so hard on this and this is our fifth ‘A’ in a row since spring 2020, and we’d started to work on this years ago when I first came,” Claire Paris, UNC Lenoir Health Care VP and chief medical officer said. “We were a ‘C’, and now we’re an ‘A’, so it really speaks to that sustained effort.”

Leapfrog collects data through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and reports from hospitals. If the hospitals don’t provide that data, they will locate it elsewhere.

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