Leapfrog Hospital Survey Report: 5 area hospitals receive “C” safety grade


4 receive "B" grade and 3 receive "A" grade

TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) – When it comes to hospital safety, five out of 12 hospitals in the region have a “C” grade, according to a national hospital safety study.

According to the Leapfrog Hospital Survey Fall 2019 report, Johnson City Medical Center, Sycamore Shoals Hospital in Elizabethton, Bristol Regional Medical Center, Indian Path Community Hospital in Kingsport and Greeneville Community Hospital West all received “C” ratings of the 12 hospitals scored in the region.

Franklin Woods Community Hospital in Johnson City, Johnston Memorial Hospital in Abingdon, Mountain View Regional Hospital in Norton, and Lonesome Pine Hospital in Big Stone Gap received “B” ratings.

Clinch Valley Medical Center in Richlands, Norton Community Hospital and Twin County Regional Healthcare in Galax received “A” ratings.

The study ranked Virginia as 3rd in the nation for the safest hospitals surveyed, and Tennessee ranked 22nd.

All the hospitals with “C” rankings in our region are Tennessee hospitals. With the exception of Franklin Woods Hospital, all the hospitals ranked “A” and “B” in the region are Virginia hospitals.

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What’s Leapfrog Group and how did researchers get these numbers?

According to Leapfrog, the bi-annual report takes 28 measures into consideration when tallying the final grade.

Hospitals are assigned a letter grade “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” or “F” to rate each hospital on safety, with “A” being the best grade and “F” being the worst.

Each hospital is graded on five categories: infections, problems with surgery, practices to prevent errors, safety problems and doctors, nurses and hospital staff. Data from the 28 measures make up each category.

Leapfrog Group’s website says it uses performance measures from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in addition to the Leapfrog Hospital Survey to accrue the information. Supplemental data is collected from organizations like the American Hospital Association.

The report surveys about 2,600 acute care hospitals across the nation. It doesn’t include federally-funded hospitals like the VA, critical-access hospitals, long-term care/rehabilitation facilities, mental health facilities, specialty hospitals such as cancer hospitals or free-standing pediatric hospitals.

Some hospitals were not included in the report because of missing scores. The website lists reasons for missing scores including that the hospital may be too small, missing data from certain measures because it doesn’t provide all services, or because the hospital opted not to provide data.

Area hospitals not included in the report are:

  • Holston Valley Medical Center – Kingsport, Tenn.
  • Dickenson Community Hospital – Clintwood, Va.
  • Greeneville Community Hospital East – Greeneville, Tenn.
  • Hancock County Hospital – Sneedville, Tenn.
  • Hawkins County Memorial Hospital – Rogersville, Tenn.
  • Johnson County Community Hospital – Mountain City, Tenn.
  • Russell County Hospital – Lebanon, Va.
  • Smyth County Community Hospital – Marion, Va.
  • Unicoi County Hospital – Erwin, Tenn.

Ballad Health operates most of the hospitals included on the report, and issued a statement Thursday evening:

Ballad Health regularly submits a wide range of quality data to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and that data is publicly available on the CMS Hospital Compare website. 

Many commercial quality ranking organizations, including Leapfrog, use data from Hospital Compare as well as other sources to produce proprietary scores, which hospitals can promote in their marketing efforts by paying a licensing fee.

Hospitals also have the option to compile and submit additional data to Leapfrog if they choose. Ballad Health facilities do not participate in Leapfrog, and our scores reflect that since we don’t submit the numerous required metrics to Leapfrog.

This additional data compilation requires a significant investment of time and internal resources, which we believe are better spent focusing on the national metrics of CMS as well as the 100 quality metrics that Ballad Health reports quarterly and the 17 priority measures we report monthly to the states of Tennessee and Virginia as part of our COPA and cooperative agreement commitments.

Ballad Health Statement

Visit hospitalsafetygrade.org to learn more about hospitals and their ratings.

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