St. Mary’s earns A for safety efforts

Brian Davidson
Brian Davidson

St. Mary’s Medical Center in Grand Junction has once again earned the top grade for patient safety from a health care industry watchdog group.

The medical center operated by SCL Health received an A from the Leapfrog Group in its spring 2019 assessment.
St. Mary’s has earned the grade in the last four of the twice-yearly assessments.

“Achieving four A ratings in a row is extremely difficult,” said Dr. Brian Davidson, president of St. Mary’s. “I am so proud of the hard work and focus our associates and medical staff have exhibited.”

Leah Binder, the president and chief executive officer of Leapfrog Group, praised St. Mary’s for its grades. “SCL Health St. Mary’s continued success in achieving an A rating is evidence that the organization places an emphasis on protecting patients from preventable medical errors, injuries and infections. We are inspired by St. Mary’s leadership on patient safety.”

Leapfrog Group has assigned A, B, C, D and F letter grades to general acute-care hospitals in the United States since 2012. The program takes into account 28 measures of publicly available information to produce a single grade that reflects the capacity of hospitals to keep patients safe from errors, infections and injuries.

According to Leapfrog Group, an estimated 160,000 lives are lost annually from avoidable medical errors, an improvement from 2016, when researchers estimated 205,000 avoidable deaths. Patients at hospitals with D and F grades face a 92 percent greater risk of avoidable death.

“The good news is that tens of thousands of lives have been saved because of progress on patient safety. The bad news is that there’s still a lot of needless death and harm in American hospitals,” Binder said.

Of more than 2,600 hospitals graded in the spring assessment, 32 percent received an A, 26 percent a B, 36 percent a C, 6 percent a D and just under 1 percent an F.

Colorado ranks 10th among states in the latest assessment for highest proportion of hospitals receiving A grades at 41.03 percent. Oregon placed first at 58.06 percent, followed by Virginia, Maine, Massachusetts and Utah. Five states tied for last in the rankings with no hospitals with A grades.