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Fort Washington Medical Center Receives Second Exceptional Safety Score This Year

Thursday November 8, 2018

For the second time this year, Fort Washington Medical Center (FWMC) receives recognition for its ability to prevent accidents, errors, injuries, and infections. The acute care hospital earned a “B” Hospital Safety Score. Independent nonprofit, The Leapfrog Group, administers the scoring. They are the nation’s only expert peer-reviewed rating system focused entirely on hospital patient safety.

Of the 40 acute care hospitals in Maryland and seven (7) in the District of Columbia that participated in the survey, FWMC demonstrated the most improvement.

“This measure of excellence represents the commitment our leaders and staff have made to providing high-quality, transparent health care,” said Joseph Tucker, Chief Financial Officer and acting CEO. I applaud Leapfrog for their efforts to place ratings on hospitals. I believe it is important that patients and their families understand their choices for health care and know which providers are equipped to safely treat them.”

To compare hospitals and calculate grades, patient safety experts examine data from various entities such as Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Leapfrog, and American Hospital Association. The combined data produces a single, consumer-friendly composite score that is published as an A, B, C, D or F letter grade.

Scoring takes into account adverse incidents such as, foreign objects left inside patients, air embolism, falls and trauma, ulcer rates, as well as death rates among serious surgical inpatients, postoperative respiratory failure, accidental punctures, and more. New this year, to further hone patient safety, Leapfrog included an assessment of hospital use of Bar Code Medication Administration, which helps reduce the risk of giving the wrong medication to a patient at the bedside.

Maryland scoring, however, is intricate in that Leapfrog began publically reporting grades for general acute care hospitals in the state for the first time in 2017. Previously, a federal waiver exempted hospitals in Maryland from participating in the CMS Inpatient Quality Reporting program.

According to Griffin Davis, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, “Since scoring began in 2017, FWMC has received unfavorable grades forcing us to reinvigorate our plans – that were already underway – to increase patient safety and staff inclusion. We addressed gaps in service; were transparent in providing hospital data; appointed patients to governing committees; improved our ICU coverage, and administered hospital-wide patient safety surveys, among other things. We are proud that these efforts yielded tangible results.”

Of more than 2,600 hospitals graded nationwide, 32 percent earned an “A,” 24 percent earned a “B,” 37 percent a “C,” 6 percent a “D” and just under 1 percent an “F.” The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is free to the public, and is updated every six months, once in the fall and once in the spring.

Earlier this year, FWMC received the 2018 Patient Safety Excellence Award, as well as Five-Star commendations for cardiac and orthopedic treatment, and gallbladder and appendix surgeries. The hospital also received the 2018 Health Quality Innovators Award for prevention of falls.