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Saint Michael's Medical Center Receives an 'A' for Patient Safety in Fall 2018 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade

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  • Written By: Saint Michael's Press Office
Saint Michael's Medical Center Receives an 'A' for Patient Safety in Fall 2018 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade

Saint Michael’s Medical Center was awarded an ‘A’ from The Leapfrog Group’s Fall 2018 Hospital Safety Grade, a designation that recognizes Saint Michael’s efforts to protect patients from harm and meet the highest safety standards in the country.

Saint Michael’s is one of 855 hospitals across the United States awarded an A by the Leapfrog Group, a national organization committed to improving health care quality and safety for consumers and purchasers. Saint Michael’s is a member of Prime Healthcare, one of the leading health systems in the United States with 45 hospitals in 14 states.

“The employees and physicians of Saint Michael’s truly deserve this award because it is their dedication and commitment to a culture of safety that allowed the hospital to receive this national designation,” said Claudia Komer, DO, one of Saint Michael’s chief medical officers.

Leapfrog assigns an A, B, C, D or F Hospital Safety Grade to hospitals based on their performance in preventing accidents, injuries and errors to patients.

“Leapfrog’s Hospital Safety Grades recognize hospitals like Saint Michael’s that focus on advancing patient safety. This ranking provides an important resource for patients, and a benchmark for hospitals, to determine how care at one hospital compares to others in a region,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group.

“Hospitals that earn an A Hospital Safety Grade deserve to be recognized for their efforts in preventing medical harm and errors,” Binder said.

The A Hospital Safety Grade represents a significant turnaround for Saint Michael’s, which received an F letter grade on the Spring 2016 Leapfrog report card. At the time, the hospital had been just purchased out of bankruptcy protection by Prime Healthcare, well-known for operating hospitals with some of the highest safety standards in the country.

Saint Michael’s CEO Robert Iannaccone said because of the precarious financial condition of the hospital prior to the sale to Prime Healthcare, the previous owners of Saint Michael’s stopped submitting surveys to Leapfrog Group, which resulted in the failing grade.

“Under Prime Healthcare’s ownership, Saint Michael’s had the resources needed to achieve an entirely new level of intense focus on patient quality and safety,” Iannaccone said. “From the moment Prime Healthcare took ownership of the hospital, patient safety and continuous quality improvement were the top priority.”

As Saint Michael’s implemented a host of new patient-centered improvements standard at all Prime Healthcare facilities, the Hospital Safety Grades progressed from an F to a D in the Fall of 2016, then a C in the Fall of 2017.

“Many of the improvements had an immediate impact on patient safety, but because there is such a lag in reporting, our Leapfrog grades did not fully take into account the changes that were put in place and didn’t reflect the high quality of care we provided to our patients,” Iannaccone said. “It took a few years for our Hospital Safety Grade to catch up to where we should have been all along. Now our grade truly reflects the high quality of care patients receive at Saint Michael’s.”

One of the most significant changes included the implementation of a computerized physician order entry or (CPOE) system. In the Spring 2016 Leapfrog report, Saint Michael’s received a zero in this category because the hospital did not have a CPOE system in place during the reporting period. In the Fall of 2016, CPOE system was implemented and Saint Michael’s received a score of 100 points.

In the Spring 2016 report, Saint Michael’s received minimal points for its Intensive Care Unit Physician Staffing, but in the Fall 2016 report, the hospital earned 100 points because it had hired a dedicated intensivist.

Another factor that contributed to Saint Michael’s Hospital Safety Grade was the creation of a Patient Family Advisory Council consisting of patients and community members. The National Quality Forum endorses patient feedback as a safe practice, which supports continuous quality improvement and reduces errors and harm to patients in an organization.

“Our first meeting was a great success,” Chief Nursing Officer Nancy Bisco-Flora said. “The positive energy and focus in the room on maintaining patient safety was uplifting. Our patients recognize Saint Michael’s as ‘their hospital’ and are eager to share their voice in quality and safety initiatives that will result in opportunities for continuous improvement.”

Developed under the guidance of a National Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals twice per year. The Hospital Safety Grade’s methodology is peer-reviewed and fully transparent, and the results are free to the public.

To see Saint Michael’s full grade details, and to access patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit and follow The Leapfrog Group on Twitter and Facebook.

About The Leapfrog Group
Founded in 2000 by large employers and other purchasers, The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for giant leaps forward in the quality and safety of American health care. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey collects and transparently reports hospital performance, empowering purchasers to find the highest-value care and giving consumers the lifesaving information they need to make informed decisions. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, Leapfrog’s other main initiative, assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.

About Saint Michael’s Medical Center
Established by the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor in 1867, Saint Michael's Medical Center is a 358-bed regional tertiary-care, teaching, and research center in the heart of Newark's business and educational district and is accredited by The Joint Commission. Combining state-of-the-art technology, the latest diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, leading-edge research, and a network of highly qualified physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals, the hospital provides top-quality health care services delivered with compassionate care.