AP NEWS

Christus St. Vincent hospital receives top grade

May 16, 2019

Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center on Wednesday received an A grade in a nationally recognized gauge of hospital safety.

The announcement by the Leapfrog Group, a Washington, D.C.-based independent nonprofit committed to driving quality, safety and transparency in the U.S. health system, is the latest bit of good news for the Santa Fe hospital.

It follows an April 30 announcement that Christus St. Vincent was accepted into the Mayo Clinic Care Network and the awarding of four out of five stars earlier this year from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for overall hospital quality.

A Leapfrog tweet noted only 32 percent of U.S. hospitals evaluated received an A grade for safety. Lovelace Westside Hospital in Albuquerque and Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces were the only other New Mexico hospitals awarded an A grade.

Christus St. Vincent’s grade rose to an A from a C after a string of C and D grades stretching back to 2016, according to Leapfrog’s Christus St. Vincent report.

The organization did not evaluate the new Presbyterian Santa Fe Medical Center.

“Christus St. Vincent is extremely proud of this amazing accomplishment,” Lillian Montoya, president and CEO of Christus St. Vincent, said in a news release. “It represents yet another important milestone in our journey to improving the care we provide to our patients and our community.”

St. Vincent’s grade stands well compared to hospitals in other cities. The Chicago Tribune reported two “big-name Chicago hospitals” — Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Rush University Medical Center — received B grades and five Chicago hospitals were saddled with D grades for safety.

Christus St. Vincent matched the best hospital scores in a variety of areas, including staph infections, computer prescriptions, hand-washing, effective leadership to prevent errors, enough qualified nurses, tracking and reducing risks to patients, and specially trained doctors care for intensive care unit patients.

“We are particularly proud of our safety event reporting system, which allows us to identify opportunities that lead to direct improvement in our patient care,” Christus St. Vincent Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Beeson told The New Mexican. “We also have a new [electronic medical record] system that has allowed us to consistently provide safe medication management to our patients and represents a fully integrated patient story always available to our caregivers.”

Even with the A grade, the Leapfrog report noted several areas where St. Vincent performed below the national average. The ratings for doctor and nurse communications with patients were just a hair below the national average but were of greatest concern to Beeson.

“We are constantly striving to improve the patient experience,” Beeson said. “This includes how we work as a team, how we communicate with our patients and how we provide the safest and most healing care environment possible.”