Home State Wide Latest hospital safety grades show big drop for one Jackson hospital

Latest hospital safety grades show big drop for one Jackson hospital

Credit: Graphic by Bethany Atkinson

A large Jackson hospital earned a D in hospital safety from a group that measures how well  hospitals protect its patients from harm.

Mississippi Baptist Medical Center fell from an A in 2021 and 2022 to a D in the spring of this year, according to the Leapfrog Group’s most recent Hospital Safety Grade ratings. 

Baptist scored worse than average in preventing problems like MRSA infections and post-surgery problems like breathing issues, blood leakage and bed sores.

“Providing quality care is our top priority, as is evidenced by our many safety awards and recognitions,” Baptist Public Relations Coordinator Caroline Gillard said in a statement to Mississippi Today. She cited Baptist’s U.S. News and World Report  ranked as the #1 hospital in Mississippi for five years in a row.

U.S. News and World Report bases its rankings and ratings on how well a hospital performs specific procedures and treats certain conditions. 

“We encourage patients to consider all quality standards and measures available to them from publically reported sources along with the services and expertise of each hospital in making decisions about their care,” Gillard said in the statement. “We are proud of the care we provide and our team of caregivers who save countless lives daily.”

The Leapfrog Group is a nonprofit that evaluates the safety and quality of general hospitals nationwide. They are most known for their Hospital Safety Grade system, which rates hospitals from A to F. The results come out twice a year.

The Hospital Safety Grade is based on how well the hospital protects patients from errors, accidents, infections, injuries and more. It uses up to thirty performance measures from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Leapfrog Hospital Survey and additional data. 

The spring 2024 hospital ratings came out in May. Mississippi ranked 34th in hospital safety overall.

Of the eight hospitals in the Merit Health system graded, only two made B’s. Five earned C’s and one, Merit Health Rankin in Brandon, earned a D.

Across all reports, the hospitals “declined to respond” to several categories: pediatric care, complex adult and pediatric surgery, and more. This means they chose not to disclose that information to the public. In a statement to Mississippi Today, Merit Health Biloxi’s Marketing Manager Amy Bowman did not answer why it did not submit the data for certain areas. 

“We are pleased to see our Leapfrog grade improve (from a D in spring 2023) with this most recent update and it reflects the focused work of our providers,” said Bowman. “Our leadership team and clinicians implement evidence-based best practices to continually strengthen the care we provide.”

Several hospitals improved their grades, and the University of Mississippi Medical Center maintained its B grade from the fall.

Dr. Lisa Didion, physician champion in UMMC’s Office of Patient Experience, presented a report about patient quality in this year’s May Health Affairs Committee of the Institutions of Higher Learning. 

“Clinical quality is absolutely the most important thing we do at the medical center,” she said.

Singing River Gulfport’s grade jumped from a C last fall to a B this spring. It has average or better-than-average scores in several areas, including a culture of safety among the staff and preventing safety problems like collapsed lungs and blood clots.

Singing River’s Pascagoula and Ocean Springs hospitals both received Cs.

Last  fall’s report had eight As, 10 Bs, 19 Cs, three D’s, and one that was not graded. This spring there are seven As, eight Bs, 19 C’s and five Ds. 

One hospital, Delta Health Northwest Regional in Clarksdale, did not receive a grade.

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