Virginia Ranks First in U.S. in Fall 2021 Hospital Safety Rating


Virginia ranked number one among states for hospital safety in a fall measure of patient safety that examines both hospital process and structure and patient outcomes.

“Virginia is blessed to have a vast network of hospitals to care for people in their hour of need. While these hospitals are each unique in their own way, they share a strong commitment to ensuring all patients receive safe, effective, high-quality care,” Carilion Clinic Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Arner said in a Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA) press release. Arner is Chair of the VHHA Board of Directors.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade analyzed 2,901 general acute-care hospitals. Process and structure measures it analyzes include intensive care unit physician staffing, culture of leadership structures and systems, nursing workforce, and hand hygiene. Outcome measures it analyzes include falls and trauma, MRSA, and death rate among surgical inpatients with serious treatable conditions.

“In some hospitals, patient safety is a top priority. Strong health care teams reduce infection rates, put checks in place to prevent mistakes, and ensure strong lines of communication between hospital staff, patients, and families,” Leapfrog explains. “But some hospitals don’t have teams that work well together, or good leadership to ensure that patient safety is the number one priority. When one person makes a mistake, there isn’t a good team ready to catch that mistake. Patients can experience dangerous complications, recovery is slower, and some patients even die unnecessarily.”

In the current rankings, 56.2 percent of Virginia hospitals graded received top marks. That reflects improvement from the Spring 2021 rankings when 50 percent of Virginia hospitals had ‘A’ grades and the Commonwealth ranked fourth among states. Overall, 41 Virginia hospitals earned ‘A’ grades in the current cycle. The Commonwealth has consistently been a high-achieving state in the bi-annual Leapfrog rankings: Virginia ranked sixth among states in the Fall 2020 rankings, third overall in the Fall 2019 ranking, second overall in the Spring 2019 rankings, third overall in the Fall 2018 scores, and fifth overall in the Spring 2018 grading period,” the VHHA press release states.

North Carolina ranked second in the fall 2021 report, with Idaho, Massachusetts, and Colorado rounding out the top five.

VHHA President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton said in the release, “Virginia hospitals are committed to the well-being of patients, which is reflected in Virginia’s consistently strong performance in the Leapfrog Group Hospital Safety Grades. These scores are a testament to the ongoing collaborative work by Virginia’s hospitals to intentionally focus on patient safety and health care quality improvement as part of a broader goal to make the Commonwealth the healthiest state in the nation.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network.  Email tips to [email protected].

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