Local Hospital Is
One Of Only 13
In U.S. To Earn
Takoma Regional Hospital has been named a "Top Rural Hospital -- one of only 13 in the country -- by The Leapfrog Group, a national organization whose focus is helping consumers compare hospitals based on outcomes and patient safety.
Takoma announced the recognition in a news release issued Friday morning.
The Leapfrog Group, which is an independent, quality-review organization based in Washington, D.C., announced its annual list of "Top Hospitals" on Dec. 4 at a special meeting in Baltimore, Md.
The "Top Hospital" designation is described by the organization as "the most competitive national hospital-quality award in the country."
According to Leapfrog, the honor recognizes hospitals "that deliver the highest quality of care by preventing medical errors, reducing mortality for high-risk procedures, and reducing hospital readmissions for patients being treated for conditions [such as] pneumonia and heart attack."
Only 92 hospitals in the entire United States received recognition as a Top Hospital in any of the three categories: Top Rural Hospital (13), Top Urban Hospital (67), and Top Children's Hospital (12).
Only two hospitals in Tennessee were honored with the Top Hospital designation in any of the categories -- Takoma, in the Rural Hospital category, and Vanderbilt University Hospital, in the Urban Hospital category.
Takoma Regional Hospital is a member of both the Adventist Health System and the Wellmont Health System.
The complete list of Leapfrog Top Hospitals is available at http://www.leapfroggroup.org under the listing of "News & Events."
'A HUGE HONOR'
"This is a huge honor for us," said Daniel Wolcott, president and CEO of Takoma.
"Takoma once again finds itself in good company," he added. "Other 'Top Hospitals' include the Mayo Clinic, Stanford Hospital, Duke University Hospital and many more renowned health care facilities."
Wolcott thanked Adventist Health System for what he said are its ongoing investments in technology and evidence-based care.
"Their continued commitment to invest in state-of-the-art technology, beginning more than 10 years ago and continuing today, has enabled us to meet criteria that led to this top national honor," he said.
As an early adopter of evidence-based care, Takoma participated in a collaborative with Johns Hopkins and Adventist Health System in 2006, the Takoma news release stated.
"This collaborative focused on reducing infections related to central lines," Wolcott explained.
"Because of this collaborative, Takoma has maintained very low infections related to central lines, which is one area measured by Leapfrog."
REQUIREMENTS FOR HONOR
To be named a Top Hospital, facilities are required to meet demanding quality and resource-use standards set up by The Leapfrog Group.
In addition, to qualify for the honor, hospitals also have to earn an "A" in Leapfrog's newest initiative: the Hospital Safety Score, which looks closely at how safe hospitals are for patients.
Earlier this month, Leapfrog announced that Takoma had received an "A" in the safety category for the second consecutive year.
Scores -- ranging from "A" to "F" -- were assigned to the 1,200 participating hospitals based on expert analysis of infections, injuries, and medical and medication errors that frequently cause harm or death during a hospital stay.
Although no other Wellmont hospital was named to the Top Hospital list, Bristol Regional Medical Center, a part of the Wellmont system, received an "A" in Leapfrog's Hospital Safety Score.
"Leapfrog holds hospitals to a fixed set of defined and transparent standards that are extremely high, and only the hospitals that meet those standards earn the distinction," said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group.
"By achieving the Top Hospital accolade, Takoma has demonstrated exemplary performance across all areas of quality and patient safety that are analyzed on the Leapfrog Hospital Survey.
"Takoma stands out as one consistently providing safe, high-quality care, and I would be comfortable sending my family to Takoma for care," Binder said.
The results of the Leapfrog survey for all participating hospitals are available at the Hospital Safety Score website ( http://www.hospitalsafetyscore.org), where a free mobile app is also available.
ABOUT LEAPFROG ITSELF
The Internet website of The Leapfrog Group ( http://www.leapfroggroup.org) describes the organization as "a voluntary program aimed at mobilizing employer purchasing power to alert America's health industry that big leaps in health care safety, quality and customer value will be recognized and rewarded.
"Among other initiatives," the website states, "Leapfrog works with its employer members to encourage transparency and easy access to health care information as well as rewards for hospitals that have a proven record of high quality care.
"The Leapfrog Hospital Survey is the gold standard for comparing hospitals' performance on the national standards of safety, quality, and efficiency that are most relevant to consumers and purchasers of care."
According to the website, the organization ultimately resulted from a meeting in 1998 when "a group of large employers came together to discuss how they could work together to use the way they purchased health care to have an influence on its quality and affordability.
"They recognized that there was a dysfunction in the health care market place. Employers were spending billions of dollars on health care for their employees with no way of assessing its quality or comparing health care providers.
"A 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine gave the Leapfrog founders an initial focus -- reducing preventable medical mistakes. The report found that up to 98,000 Americans die every year from preventable medical errors made in hospitals alone.
"In fact, there are more deaths in hospitals each year from preventable medical mistakes than there are from vehicle accidents, breast cancer, and AIDS.
"The report actually recommended that large employers provide more market reinforcement for the quality and safety of health care.
"The founders realized that they could take 'leaps' forward with their employees, retirees and families by rewarding hospitals that implement significant improvements in quality and safety.
"Funding to set up Leapfrog came from the Business Roundtable (BRT) and The Leapfrog Group was officially launched in November 2000. Leapfrog is now supported by its members and others."