Each year the Leapfrog Hospital survey recognizes the top hospitals that excel in preventing medication errors, offer a higher quality of maternity care, and have lower infection rates and other laudable qualities the survey evaluates. This year two Missouri hospitals make the list.

This isn't an easy award to get either. The group gives awards in several categories: Top Children's Hospitals, Top General Hospitals, Top Teaching Hospitals with 500 or more beds, Top Teaching Hospitals with less than 500 beds, and Top Rural Hospitals. Each category has a specific methodology the survey uses to select which hospitals receive the award.

This methodology involves hospitals being evaluated on using a computerized physician order entry system, meeting Leapfrog's standard for ICU physician staffing, having a "never events" policy that requires hospitals to commit to nine basic acts if a "never event" happens, meet 39 specific national performance measurements in seven domains, and meets Leapfrogs standards for high-risk surgeries and procedures. Additionally, hospitals receiving the award must receive an A on their Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade and must satisfy Leapfrog's Top Hospital Selection Committee that the hospital embodies the highest standards of excellence.

The methodology above is for general hospitals, but the criteria for each type of hospital are similar. You can get specific criteria for all the award categories here.

So what Missouri hospitals won the award?

In the category of Top General Hospitals Mercy Hospital Jefferson in Festus, "a 251-bed acute care facility with a 24-hour emergency room and a full range of diagnostic, preventative, and restorative health care services" won.

In the category of Top Teaching Hospitals Mercy Hospital South in St. Louis was a winner. Mercy Hospital South provides nationally recognized care including a level 2 trauma center, and comprehensive stroke center, as well as an excellent reputation for those dealing with heart failure. Mercy Hospital South offers a full range of specialist hospital services including acute rehabilitation, cardiology, maternity services, oncology care, orthopedics, neurology/stroke, surgery, and emergency medicine.

 

In order to be considered one of the top hospitals, hospitals must receive an "A" safety grade. So how did our area hospitals perform?

The following hospitals responded to Leapfrog's request for patient safety and quality data.

Bothwell Regional Health Center - "C" 

Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare - "B"

Lafayette Regional Health Center -No Grade, but detailed information available. 

The following hospitals did not respond to Leapfrog's request for patient safety and quality data. Leapfrog says by not participating in their hospital survey they're making it harder for purchasers to make better healthcare decisions. These hospitals are still graded, there's just less information available for the public.

Western Missouri Medical Center - "C" 

Fitzgibbon Hospital - "C"

While not participating in Leapfrog's survey gives me pause, I'd encourage you to dig a little deeper when it comes to assessing your local hospital's safety rating. Do online research, talk to friends or family who might have used services from that hospital, and consult with your doctor or nurses in your doctor's office. Heck, call the hospital and ask why they didn't participate or where you can find your hospital's safety information. Do the work and you'll find the information you need to make an informed decision.

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