Mercy Hospitals in Arkansas Earn ‘A’ Grade

December 14, 2020

Safety is always a top priority in health care, though never more so than in 2020. Despite unprecedented challenges, Mercy Hospital Fort Smith and Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas in Rogers each earned an A grade from The Leapfrog Group, demonstrating a continued commitment to patient safety.

Mercy Hospital Fort Smith received its ninth A in a row, while Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas received its seventh A of the last eight rating periods. Mercy's hospitals are the only A grades in Arkansas on the Fall 2020 report.

Courageous front-line workers across the country have responded to the novel coronavirus, working to keep their patients and communities safe. Leapfrog’s Safety Grade assesses hospitals nationwide based on the outcomes of their efforts to prevent medical errors, infections and other patient harm, and gives traditional letter grades that reflect their ability to keep their patients safe.

Mercy’s Arkansas locations are among only approximately one-third of the 2,600 hospitals graded to receive an A.

“We are proud of our co-workers for helping us achieve this award for the ninth straight time,” said Ryan Gehrig, Mercy Hospital Fort Smith president. “Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, our co-workers have made patient safety a priority, and we can't thank them enough for their dedication to quality care here at Mercy. This national award is evidence of that dedication."

Eric Pianalto, president of Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas, said he hopes co-workers get a lift from hearing their hard work in the face of adversity has led to another A grade from Leapfrog.

“This recognition comes at a great time because it’s a reminder that even while we face great challenges, our focus is safety,” he said. “This award reflects the sacrifices and commitment of all Mercy co-workers, from our physicians to our environmental services team. I’m very proud of their tireless work in serving our community.”

Dr. Keith Starke, Mercy’s senior vice president and chief clinical officer, complimented Mercy co-workers who made the Leapfrog honor possible.

“Our co-workers have faced hardships of truly historic proportions this year,” Dr. Starke said. “We could not be more proud of the way they have handled this unprecedented pandemic with a continued focus on safety. These safety grades from Leapfrog are a direct reflection of our co-workers’ commitment and dedication to excellence and providing the highest quality care possible.”

In addition to Fort Smith and Northwest Arkansas, Mercy hospitals in the following communities received A grades: Joplin, St. Louis and Washington in Missouri; and Ada and Oklahoma City in Oklahoma.

Developed under the guidance of a national expert panel, the Leapfrog assessment uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals twice per year. The methodology is peer-reviewed and fully transparent, and the results are free to the public.

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

Last week, the Leapfrog Group named Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas to its Top Hospitals list in the category of small teaching hospitals. Only 105 of 2,200 hospitals nationwide achieved Top Hospital status.

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