Springfield Regional Medical Center sees safety rating tick up in annual report

The Springfield Regional Medical Center received a B rating in a report from a national health care advocacy group, an improvement after several C ratings over the past several years.

The Leapfrog Group releases its Hospital Safety Grade report twice a year, providing a letter grade to hospitals nationwide based on a range of measures from preventing infections to instituting policies to prevent errors that can harm patient health. A report released Monday showed the Springfield Regional Medical Center had received a B rating for the first time since at least 2015.

READ MORE: Springfield housing: Experts say funding tool becoming more common for development

The grade is made up after reviewing information on 28 separate measures, based on data from sources that include the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are several factors that contributed to the improvement, said Elaine Storr, regional chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care services at Mercy Health. She said the health system has made significant improvement in recruiting more highly trained staff. She said the facility’s vacancy rate was around 10 percent when the report was issued last year, compared to about 4.7 percent at the same time this year.

Having additional available staff means staff has more time to work with patients and reduce errors.

“That coincides with higher quality and higher scores,” Storr said of the latest report.

She also said Mercy has focused on providing more training for leadership and developed a residency program to get more trained nurses in a variety of departments, she said.

The facility was already on the right path to improving its rating last year and expects to continue improvements moving forward, said Adam Groshans, chief operating officer for Mercy Health Springfield.

“Now we’re getting into the fun part of being strategic to take it to the next level,” he said.

Several other hospitals in the region were also ranked in the report, including Greene Memorial Hospital in Xenia, which received an A rating and Mary Rutan Hospital in Bellefontaine, which also received a B. The Soin Medical Center in Beavercreek received a C in the latest report from the nonprofit.

MORE: Northeastern buys land for new school building

The report released Monday showed the hospital fared well in measures like having enough qualified nurses on staff and communicating effectively with patients being discharged from the facility. It also fared well in preventing dangerous blood clots and monitoring patients to prevent serious breathing problems after surgery, for example.

For example, the Springfield hospital received the best possible score for physicians consistently ordering medications using a computerized system as opposed to writing prescriptions by hand as a way to prevent medication errors.

MORE BUSINESS NEWS: Navistar launches new truck assembled in Springfield

The report also suggested areas for improvement, including how often staff communicated with patients about new medications and possible side effects. The SRMC received a score of 73, below the average of 78, according to the report. The hospital also fared below average in preventing blood infections in the latest data, reporting a slightly higher number of infections than expected based on factors like the facility’s size and type, for example.

DETAILS: Springfield searching for new airport manager

The Leapfrog report and similar evaluations can be helpful for patients, said John Palmer, director of public and media relations for the Ohio Hospital Association. But he said there are numerous similar studies provided by a variety of organizations each year, so it’s important for consumers to review more than one site before making health care decisions.

“Each of them tell a different story and each of them are done at a particular time,” Palmer said of the various reports produced that provide information about hospitals.

The report indicated this was the first time since 2015 the Springfield hospital received a B rating from the Leapfrog Group. The hospital had received a C rating twice a year annually since 2015, including a C rating in the previous report issued for Spring 2018, according to the group's website.

The Leapfrog website shows the scores are assigned to more than 2,600 general acute-care hospitals across the U.S. twice a year. The site notes choosing a hospital is a matter of preference but says the grades are one tool to help patients better understand which facilities do a better job of preventing errors.

“As they’re asking health care decisions, its important to look at all sources to be able to make a well-rounded choice,” Palmer said.

The Springfield News-Sun provides unmatched coverage of health care and businesses in Clark and Champaign counties, including extensive reporting on issues ranging from attempts to fight a national opioid epidemic to recent changes in leadership at the Springfield Regional Medical Center.

By the numbers:

0.504— Springfield Regional Medical Center’s score for MRSA

0.0 — Best hospital’s score in Leapfrog report to prevent MRSA

0.881 — Average hospital’s score

3.383 — Worst hospital’s score

Source: Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade

About the Author