More than one-third of Georgia hospitals scored an “A’’ in the latest safety ratings by the Leapfrog Group, including Redmond Regional Medical Center locally.

That puts Georgia No. 15 among states for its percentage of hospitals getting an “A’’ from Leapfrog, up from 17th place in the ratings last fall.

Leapfrog, a patient safety organization founded by employers, issues the rankings semiannually, in fall and spring. It’s a widely watched rating system, and it’s touted especially by hospitals that do well in the grades.

Georgia’s 27 “A” hospitals were a combination of urban and suburban hospitals and smaller rural facilities.

Redmond Regional Medical Center earned an “A” and Floyd Medical Center earned a “B” in the rankings.

“We know our patients expect Redmond to provide them safe, high quality care and we work very hard to make sure we do exactly that,” John Quinlivan, CEO of Redmond Regional Medical Center said in a press release. “The Leapfrog ‘A’ rating marks us among the best hospitals in the country and further validates that our patients can expect the safest and best care at Redmond.”

When asked for a comment, Sheila Bennett, the executive vice president and chief of patient services at Floyd Medical Center said in a release: “Two years ago, Floyd opted to fully participate in the voluntary Leapfrog methodology along with other quality rating systems. Floyd continuously monitors quality data in all of our service lines and uses this information to improve the patient experience and clinical outcomes, and is aware of opportunities to improve clinical processes before the data is published.”

No hospital in Georgia received an “F’’ this time around.

The scores are calculated by experts on patient safety. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses national measures from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, and other supplemental data sources. The letter grade, summarizing 28 measures, reflects a hospital’s overall performance in keeping patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors.

The Leapfrog goal is to encourage consumers to consider safety when selecting a hospital. The group also says it believes the grade will foster strong market incentives for hospitals to make safety a priority.

Even “A” hospitals are not perfectly safe, but researchers found they are getting safer, Leapfrog said.

If all hospitals had an avoidable death rate equivalent to “A” hospitals, 50,000 lives would have been saved in the latest reporting period, versus 33,000 lives that would have been saved by “A” level performance in 2016, Leapfrog said.

Overall, an estimated 160,000 lives are lost annually from the avoidable medical errors that are accounted for in the Hospital Safety Grade, a significant improvement from 2016, when researchers estimated 205,000 avoidable deaths.

“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,” Leah Binder, president and CEO of the Leapfrog Group, said in a statement. “Hospitals don’t all have the same track record, so it really matters which hospital people choose, which is the purpose of our Hospital Safety Grade.”

Leapfrog says it’s the only national hospital rating that focuses just on errors, accidents, injuries and infections.

Georgia Health News, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, tracks state medical issues on its website georgiahealthnews.com.

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