Health Care

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s named 2013 Leapfrog Top Hospital

The only other such winner in West Michigan was Spectrum Health Kelsey.

January 17, 2014
| By Pete Daly |
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Mercy Health Saint Mary's is the only West Michigan hospital to make Leapfrog's national list of top urban hospitals.

(As seen on WZZM TV 13) Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids has been named one of the nation’s top 55 urban hospitals by the The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit organization representing major employers concerned about hospital safety, quality and affordability.

Saint Mary’s was one of 1,324 hospitals participating in Leapfrog’s 2013 annual survey, which the organization used in determining what it believes are the nation’s top 55 urban hospitals, top 22 rural hospitals, and top 13 children’s hospitals.

The only other Leapfrog Top Urban Hospital in 2013 in Michigan was Detroit Receiving Hospital and University Health Center. There were two top rural hospitals: Spectrum Health’s Kelsey Hospital in Lakeview and OSF St. Francis Hospital and Medical Group in Escanaba. The only top children’s hospital in Michigan was DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit.

All five acute care hospitals in Greater Grand Rapids, including the three Spectrum Health hospitals and Metro Health in Wyoming, participated in the Leapfrog 2013 survey.

Michael La Penna of the La Penna Group, a health care organization consulting firm, said Saint Mary’s inclusion on the list of Leapfrog top hospitals “is a distinguished position,” but he noted that “the other area hospitals, for the most part, have also fared well. Spectrum has made this designation as recently as 2011.”

The Leapfrog survey is intended to measure hospital performance based on patient safety and quality, focusing on three critical areas of hospital care: how patients fare, resource use, and management structures in place to prevent errors.

“We are honored to be distinguished as a 2013 Top Hospital by The Leapfrog Group,” said Bill Manns, president of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. “This award recognizes the quality care and dedication our staff brings to our patients and community each day. I sincerely thank them for their work and expertise that have garnered us this recognition from The Leapfrog Group as one of only 90 in the nation.”

Leah Binder, president/CEO of The Leapfrog Group, said the field of hospitals considered for this year’s Leapfrog Top Hospital distinction “was more competitive than ever. By achieving the Top Hospital accolade, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s has demonstrated exemplary performance across all areas of quality and patient safety that are analyzed on the Leapfrog hospital survey. If my family or friends needed care, I’d be comfortable sending them to Mercy Health Saint Mary’s.”

Dr. John Collins, vice president and chief Quality and Patient Safety officer at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, said this is the third time Saint Mary’s has received a top hospital designation from Leapfrog. The MHSM system has been involved with the surveys for years, he added, and he also noted that his own personal interest in Leapfrog began many years ago, when his daughter was a member of the Leapfrog staff in Washington and persuaded him that all hospitals should participate in the survey.

Collins said completing the voluntary Leapfrog survey takes about 40 hours of research by a member of his Quality Improvement staff.

Collins said it is “a big-time commitment, but one we think is fairly important.”

“People are paying more attention to it,” he said.

According to Leapfrog, the top hospitals in 2013:

  • Fully meet Leapfrog standards for implementing computer physician order entry systems that help prevent medication errors, and for carefully testing their systems with Leapfrog’s CPOE Evaluation Tool;
  • Fully meet stringent performance standards for at least 40 percent of the complex, high-risk procedures (such as aortic valve replacement) done in that particular hospital;
  • Fully meet the ICU Physician Staffing standard that ensures ICU patients are cared for by specially trained doctors;
  • Score a 79 or better in value according to Leapfrog’s Hospital Recognition Program. The score is calculated by combining a hospital’s scores for quality and resource use (which include standards from Leapfrog’s hospital survey), with quality given more weight;
  • Hospitals eligible for a Hospital Safety Score must receive an A on the letter grades publicly reported at the time of the Leapfrog Top Hospital public announcement.

Once referred to as the “efficiency score,” Leapfrog also assigns a “value score,” a composite that utilizes a hospital’s performance on both quality measures and resource use measures. Leapfrog said its employer and purchaser members are concerned about the cost of health care and believe that it’s possible to provide top quality care using the appropriate amount of resources (measured by Leapfrog in terms of length of stay and readmission). Through recognition on the top hospitals list, Leapfrog encourages all hospitals to use resources judiciously and take steps to ensure that patients are discharged at the appropriate time and have no need to return to the hospital.

On its website, Leapfrog says the top hospitals list is not meant to disparage any hospital by its absence, but is intended to educate consumers about making informed health care decisions by highlighting individual hospitals that have done exceptionally well on the Leapfrog hospital survey.

The Leapfrog Group is a national organization using the collective leverage of large purchasers of health care to initiate improvements in the safety, quality and affordability of health care. Its survey allows purchasers to structure their contracts and purchasing to reward the highest performing hospitals. The Leapfrog Group was founded in November 2000 with support from the Business Roundtable and national funders, and is now independently operated with support from its members.

National statistics at the time Leapfrog was formed in 2000 indicated that up to 98,000 Americans die every year from preventable medical errors made in hospitals.

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