Hospitals Earn A’s for Keeping Patients Safe

April 30, 2020

Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas in Rogers Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas in Rogers

Mercy Hospital Fort Smith and Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas are among 10 hospitals in the Mercy system that recently earned A grades for safety.

The Leapfrog Group on Thursday released its spring 2020 Hospital Safety Grades, which score hospitals on how they protect their patients from errors, injuries, accidents and infections. More than 2,600 U.S. general acute-care hospitals were assigned scores, with just 33 percent receiving an A grade.

“Our priority has always been providing the highest quality of care to our patients,” said Dr. Keith Starke, Mercy chief quality officer. “The expert care delivered by our physicians, nurses and staff throughout the Mercy system continues to be recognized by national groups such as Leapfrog, and we are pleased that these grades put Mercy among the best hospitals in the country.”

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is calculated by top patient safety experts, peer reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public. It is updated every six months, once in the fall and once in the spring.

Mercy Hospital Fort Smith received seven A’s since fall 2016, while Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas received six A’s during the same period.

"The dedication of our co-workers is what enables us to provide quality care to our patients," said Ryan Gehrig, Mercy Hospital Fort Smith president. "To be recognized for a seventh consecutive time by The Leapfrog Group is evidence of this. We could not be prouder of our co-workers for achieving this national recognition and showing that patients can count on Mercy to deliver on our promises to them."

Mercy Hospital President Eric Pianalto added, “Patient safety has always been the highest priority for Mercy caregivers, going back to our founding by Catherine McAuley and the Sisters of Mercy. This Leapfrog A is a testament to our team’s commitment to safety and quality, which remains a constant no matter what health care challenges we face.”

Using 30 evidence-based measures of patient safety, The Leapfrog Group calculated a numerical score for all eligible hospitals in the U.S. The numerical score was then converted into one of five letter grades: A, B, C, D or F. Read more about Leapfrog scoring here.

“As the nation copes with a challenging pandemic, our gratitude extends to hospital leadership and health care workers everywhere for their tremendous dedication,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “We hope this ‘A’ helps to thank the people who work and volunteer for Arkansas’ Mercy hospitals. They are role models in putting patients first, and their service has been extraordinary in our country’s time of need.”

In addition to the A grade from Leapfrog, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in February gave Mercy Hospital Fort Smith and Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas in Rogers the highest ratings in the region, a four-star rating and a five-star rating, respectively. The hospitals also were recognized in 2019 by NRC Health as Top 100 Consumer Loyalty Award winners.

Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems for four consecutive years (2016 to 2019) by IBM Watson Health, serves millions annually. Mercy includes more than 40 acute care, managed and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, 900 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 45,000 co-workers and 2,400 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has clinics, outpatient services and outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. In addition, Mercy's IT division, Mercy Technology Services, and Mercy Virtual commercially serve providers and patients from coast to coast.