WMBF Investigates: Grading local hospitals

WMBF Investigates: Grading local hospitals

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - While local students still have a month before exams, local hospitals are already reviewing report cards. While three facilities are celebrating A grades from The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit that issues hospital grades twice a year based on patient safety experts interpreting publicly available data, two others scored C grades this fall.

Carolinas Hospital System – Florence – A
McLeod Loris – Loris – A
McLeod Regional Medical Center of the Pee Dee – Florence – A
Carolinas Hospital System – Marion – Mullins – B
Grand Strand Medical Center – Myrtle Beach – B
McLeod Seacoast – Little River – B
Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital – Georgetown – B
Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital – Murrells Inlet – B
Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center – Hartsville – C
Conway Medical Center – Conway – C

The Leapfrog Group graded 46 facilities in South Carolina on 27 criteria ranging from infections to surgery issues to preventative practices to safety to doctors, nurses and hospital staff.

Mobile site users, tap here to see a slideshow showing which of the local hospitals were graded best and worst for each of the 27 criteria.

WMBF News gave each hospital or hospital group the opportunity to provide a written statement about the grades.

Carolinas Hospital System says it is committed to providing safe, quality care for every patient.

"We are pleased to have earned an "A" grade in the Leapfrog update as it recognizes the safe, quality care we provide to our patients," a spokesman said. "Tracking quality data, daily attention to process improvement and collaboration between our employees and the medical staff support the delivery of quality care and our improvements over time."

The spokesman said consumers should consider a variety of factors when choosing where to receive medical care, including speaking with a physician.

"Patient safety is a top priority for our hospital as we treat a high-level of critically ill and trauma patients from our area and surrounding communities," said Dr. Andrew Schwartz, Chief Medical Officer for Grand Strand Health. "We continuously work with our staff and physicians by educating them on quality care and patient safety along with training programs which supports our mission: Above all else we are committed to the care and improvement of human life."

A spokesman for Tidelands health said ratings from organizations like Leapfrog are an important tool to inform patients' decisions.

"Leapfrog's rating system is among many evaluation tools available to patients and their families," he said, "each using different quality measures, performance data and methodology. We take these ratings seriously, and encourage consumers to consider the full spectrum of available information when making care decisions."

He said part of the evaluation process should include face-to-face discussions with clinicians responsible for care.

Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center says it's committed to continuous quality improvement.

"We are proud of the six areas where we had best performance," a spokeswoman said of the rankings you can see below. "When opportunities are identified, we have a focused effort to improve. For example, regarding C-Diff infections, CPRMC has had ZERO incidents in 2017."

Conway Medical Center pointed to its survey processes and outcomes reported through nationally recognized accrediting bodies like Det Norske Veritas Healthcare and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. A spokeswoman said unlike those groups, Leapfrog relies on voluntary survey participation.

"Since Conway Medical Center does not report to Leap Frog at this time, their reporting metrics on our organization are incomplete," she said.

"First of all, we want to assure all patients and families that you are safe and well taken care of here at CMC," said Dr. Paul Richardson, vice-president of Medical Affairs. "We strive for the highest quality and safety standards in all of our activities, especially in the area of patient care."

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