Hospital maintains high safety score

GREENFIELD — Hancock Regional Hospital earned an A rating for the third time in a row from the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade system, which twice yearly rates more than 2,000 American hospitals.

Leapfrog Group, a Washington, D.C., independent nonprofit specializing in health care analysis, recently rated Hancock Regional among the safest Indiana hospitals its size. The grade derives from data concerning infections, problems with surgery, practices to prevent errors, safety and statistics regarding the doctors, nurses and hospital staff.

Leapfrog Group’s algorithm takes into account 30 quality measures — and the opinion of a panel of medical professionals — in the process of rating hospitals, according to the Leapfrog Group website. Hancock Regional, which has 76 beds, showed a higher overall rating than several area hospitals, including Community Hospital North in Indianapolis and Community Hospital East in Indianapolis, which received C and B grades, respectively.

Hospital safety studies from Leapfrog Group are among the best-respected in the industry, Hancock Regional Hospital CEO Steve Long said earlier this year.

Eighteen hospitals in the state received A grades, and seven of those included hospitals under Suburban Health, an organization comprising central Indiana hospitals working together to promote quality, efficiency and patient access in their communities. Hancock Regional is among the 11 hospitals represented by Suburban Health, Long said.

He attributed the achievement in part to staff members’ efforts to reduce re-admission rates, or the number of people who return to the hospital after a hospital stay. Hospital leaders have been working to decrease the number of people needing additional hospital stays through more comprehensive follow-up care, including more check-ins by patients’ primary care physicians.

Patient satisfaction surveys collected by the Centers for Medicare Services also lent the Hancock County hospital system an advantage. Patients rated the hospital above average in the areas of communication by doctors and nurses and the responsive of hospital staff to patients’ needs, according to the study.

Constant improvement is instilled in hospital staff from department heads down, Hancock Regional Hospital board of directors member Dianne Osborne said.

She knows the hospital staff members have all worked hard to achieve results that help them be scored well on studies like the one done by the Leapfrog group, she said.

“It represents incredibly hard work by everyone,” she said. “It’s a huge achievement.”

And the achievement means more to hospital leaders now that it’s been repeated several times.

While Long reserved his excitement about the rating the first — and second — time the hospital received top scores on the Leapfrog study, he’s confident the hospital is doing things right.

“We’ve done a lot of work over several years, and now that we’re three times into it, I trust that it’s a testament that the processes we put into place are having an impact,” Long said.

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Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or rhatcher@greenfieldreporter.com.