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Two Mecklenburg hospitals just got A grades for patient safety from a watchdog group

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade explained

The Leapfrog Group, a Washington-based nonprofit, put together this explainer on how they grade hospitals and what you can do. Two Triangle hospitals saw their grades drop from A to C when the latest ratings came out on Tuesday, April 24, 2018.
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The Leapfrog Group, a Washington-based nonprofit, put together this explainer on how they grade hospitals and what you can do. Two Triangle hospitals saw their grades drop from A to C when the latest ratings came out on Tuesday, April 24, 2018.

Two hospitals in Mecklenburg County received top marks for safety in the latest results from a nonprofit watchdog group.

Carolinas Healthcare System University, an Atrium Health hospital, and Novant Health Matthews Medical Center earned ‘A’ grades from Leapfrog’s hospital safety rankings, released twice a year.

Just outside of Mecklenburg County, two more hospitals received top marks — Carolinas Healthcare System Northeast in Concord and Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill.

Novant Health and Atrium Health are the two dominant healthcare providers in the Charlotte area.

Novant hospital staff analyze hospital conditions and develop best practices to better serve patients and communities, said Eric Eskioglu, executive vice president and chief medical officer with Novant Health.

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“We will not stop or be satisfied until our system can report zero incidents of infections or errors,” Eskioglu said.

In a statement, Atrium said it analyzes quality and safety patterns, and trends, to reduce patient harm, complications and readmissions.

“We know our patients at Atrium Health expect the best for their healthcare needs, and we are dedicated to providing world-class, high-quality care to our patients, families and communities,” Atrium said.

The Leapfrog Safety Grade assessed 79 hospitals in North Carolina among more than 2,600 acute care hospitals nationwide, issuing a composite letter grade based on 28 performance measures for errors, accidents, injuries and infections. Nearly three-fourths scored an A or a B, which was better than the national average.

Across the country slightly more than half received an A or a B.

Overall, 43 percent of North Carolina hospitals got an A, 28 percent got a B, and 29 percent got a C. No hospitals in the state got a D or an F.

In Mecklenburg County, B grades were given to Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center, Atrium’s flagship Carolinas Medical Center, Carolinas Medical Center-Mercy, Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center and Caromont Regional Medical Center.

In the event of an emergency, health experts advise going to the closest hospital. Safety ratings should be used for guidance on planned procedures, like surgery.

Because Leapfrog’s safety categories can be overwhelming, Leapfrog advises patients to start by reviewing just three measures: hand washing practices, blood infections and patient falls.

Even a hospital with an overall A grade can be worse than the national average in one or more of these key safety metrics.

Leapfrog letter grades for the same hospital can vary from one rating period to the next, and the scores may not reflect a hospital’s current performance level.

A particular hospital’s safety score can slip even if that hospital’s performance stays the same, just because other hospitals improved.

For example, one hospital in the Charlotte area saw its score drop to a C. Carolinas Healthcare System Pineville hospital received a C during after getting As in the past three Leapfrog reports.

Cassie Cope: 704-358-5926, @cassielcope
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