Indiana Regional Medical Center has had a roller-coaster experience with a national rating agency, whose latest safety grades for 2,600 U.S. hospitals includes a repeat “C” for the White Township medical complex.
The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization committed to driving quality, safety and transparency in the United States health care system, assigns A, B, C, D and F letter grades to hospitals nationwide.
Since 2012 Leapfrog has done biennial assessments of how hospitals are coping with preventable errors and infections that kill more than 500 people each day nationally.
IRMC was among the 37 percent of hospitals given “C” ratings in the report announced Thursday. It was the second “C” given to the White Township hospital this year.
“We received a lower than expected grade due to outdated data being used in our grade calculation,” IRMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Hawthorne said. “We only received five out of 100 possible points for having a critical care program.”
Hawthorne said that calculation was based on data from 2016.
“In reality, we have had full-time board-certified critical care physicians available 24 hours a day since Sept. 1, 2017,” Hawthorne said.
“This should result in 100 out of 100 points for this metric, which in all likelihood will result in a considerably higher letter grade.”
Regionally, other “C” grades went to ACMH Hospital in Kittanning and Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center at Windber.
“Safety remains a top priority and we continue to look for opportunities to improve,” Hawthorne said.
IRMC has had “A” ratings before, in the spring and fall of 2017, following “C” ratings in three straight grading periods in 2015 and 2016 and a “B” rating in the fall of 2016.
The Leapfrog Group said 32 percent of hospitals received “A” grades in the ratings announced Thursday, including Excela Latrobe Hospital and Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown.
It said 24 percent of hospitals received “B” grades, including Punxsutawney Area Hospital and Excela Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg.
Leapfrog’s CEO said problems with hospital safety happen regardless of how a community voted this past week in the general election. “Health care was an important issue in the 2018 midterm elections, yet both parties are still neglecting the third-leading cause of death in America, errors and infections in hospitals,” Leah Binder said.
“Every elected official, from city councilors, to senators, to the president, should hold hospitals accountable and support efforts to improve patient safety.”
On the other side of the “Cs,” 6 percent of hospitals received “D” grades and 1 percent received “F” or failing grades. Regionally, the nearest “D” went to Somerset Hospital. No “Fs” were reported in Pennsylvania.