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Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield gets an 'A' for safety

— For the second time this year, Baystate Franklin Medical Center has received an “A” safety score from the Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit organization that evaluates hospitals’ quality and safety measures.

The “A” grade reaffirms the score that BFMC received when Leapfrog released its first safety scores back in June. After conducting hospital safety surveys for 10 years, Leapfrog decided this year to publish easy-to-understand safety scores on a new website, www.hospitalsafetyscore.org.

Leapfrog is “one of the gold standards out there for measurement,” said Gina Campbell, the hospital’s regional director of quality.

“It isn’t a constant that you’re always providing high quality. It takes a lot of work by a lot of people,” she said. “For (Leapfrog) to come back and say, ‘You’re an A, and you remain an A,’ tells me that they continue to do that tough work all of the time.” The June safety scores were calculated using 26 different measures, selected and weighted by a special panel of health care experts. Data was collected through Leapfrog’s annual surveys and public data sources like the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The score assesses things like a hospital’s leadership structure and teamwork training. It also dives into the hospital’s data to examine measures like proper antibiotic selection for surgical patients.

This round of scores uses 25 of the original 26 measures, with the omission of a measure that looks at patients whose respiratory systems shut down following surgery. Not enough data was available to include the measure in the score, according to the methodology chart.

While some public data sources may be updated, the information collected from Leapfrog’s annual surveys is the same data used to calculate the June scores. New surveys will be conducted in the spring.

According to a Leapfrog fact sheet, of the 2,618 general hospitals that were given a score, 790 earned an “A,” 678 earned a “B,” 1,004 earned a “C,” 121 earned a “D” and 25 earned an “F.” “Leapfrog is unbiased in telling the whole truth about how hospitals are doing, no matter how much discomfort it causes many of them,” said Keith Reissaus, board chair of the Leapfrog Group, in a prepared statement.

“Consumers deserve ‘A’ hospitals and someday we may see all hospitals earning ‘A’s.’ However, we are not there yet,” he said.

Minor revisions to scoring process The health care expert panel met again this summer to consider consumer feedback and take another look at the Leapfrog safety score’s methodology.

The weights have been slightly adjusted. For example, more credit is given to hospitals that use computerized systems to order medicine.

If a hospital uses an electronic system for prescribing medicine, it reduces the chance for human error, said Campbell. The system asks for detailed information for each prescription and blocks an order from being written unless a series of required fields are filled out appropriately and completely, she said.

Campbell wasn’t sure if the electronic medical ordering had an impact on BFMC’s safety score this time around, but said that the hospital does well with this practice.

The change in methodology provided some adjustments across the board: 34 percent of hospitals changed by one grade level up or down from their June score, and 8 percent saw a dramatic change of two grade levels up or down, according to a Leapfrog fact sheet.

Baystate Medical Center in Springfield and Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton both maintained their “A” grades.

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