INDIANA REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER  IRMC  sign

For the first time in two years, Indiana Regional Medical Center is getting an “A” grade from the Leapfrog Group, which lists safety grades for 2,600 U.S. hospitals.

The overall grade is a sign of continuing improvement for the White Township hospital since the spring and fall of last year, when IRMC received “C” ratings in each of the biennial ratings by Leapfrog.

“This score is a reflection of the hard work done every day by our physicians, nurses and staff,” said Dr. Bruce Bush, chief medical officer at IRMC.

IRMC scored a “B” in the spring of this year and has had see-saw ratings since 2016, when it had a “C” in the spring and “B” in the fall, then “A” in both 2017 ratings.

Leapfrog seeks to drive quality, safety and transparency in the United States health care system with its ratings. Since 2012 it has assessed on an A-through-F scale how general acute-care hospitals cope with preventable errors and infections that kill more than 500 people each day nationally.

As has been the case in the past, IRMC’s scores are a mixed bag, ranging from above average for many categories, below average for some and a few “declined to report” scores.

The hospital had a zero — the best possible rating — for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria, in a category where the average score was 0.840 and the worst score was 3.265.

On the other hand, for Clostridium difficile, or C. diff., a bacteria that can cause diarrhea and abdominal pain, IRMC scored 0.942, a worse rating than the average of 0.691 but better than the worst hospital score of 1.953.

IRMC also was above average for infection in the blood, below average for infection in the urinary tract and above average for surgical site infection after colon surgery.

Except for the category of blood clots, Leapfrog said IRMC performed above average across the board on surgical matters; in four of six categories of practices to prevent errors; in three of four categories regarding safety problems; and above average in all categories in the category of “doctors, nurses and hospital staff.”

“Quality care and patient safety are our top priorities for the patients we serve,” Bush said.

IRMC shared that “A” grade with 33 percent of the hospitals rated by Leapfrog across the country. “B” grades went to 25 percent of hospitals rated, 34 percent received “C” grades, 8 percent received “D” ratings and the “F” was given to 1 percent of hospitals.

Among hospitals in nearby areas, “A” grades also were given to Butler Memorial Hospital, Excela Latrobe Hospital and Duke LifePoint’s Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown.

Punxsutawney Area Hospital received a “B,” down from an “A” in the spring, while Excela Westmoreland Hospital again received a “B.”

ACMH Hospital near Kittanning again was rated a “C.”