MaineGeneral Medical Center has been given a top safety grade by a nonprofit group, as well as recognition for its patient experience by a marketing firm.

The hospital earned an “A” grade from The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization that evaluates hospitals around the nation on safety, quality of care and resources. The grading system is a five-mark, single letter grading system in which an “F” would be a poor grade.

“We rely on publicly available data to grade these hospitals,” said Erica Mobley, director of operations at The Leapfrog Group.

She said the data comes from two sources: Medicare and voluntary hospital surveys. Mobley noted that if a hospital did not volunteer in the survey, the group still would seek out the information. The group compares the findings to national-based measures in order to determine a grade.

Mobley said there are 28 measures the group collects. Thirteen of those look at process and structural measures, such as technology to prevent mismedication and policy on staff hand-washing. The rest look at outcome measures.

“These are mistakes that should never happen, regardless of the hospital,” Mobley said.

Examples she gave include leaving objects in a patient’s body after surgery and preventing patient falls.

Last year, the medical center received B’s in both of its bi-annual grading evaluations by Leapfrog; it had A’s in 2017, and B’s in 2016.

“They have had consistent performance in process measures,” Mobley said, “but they have made improvement on outcome measures.”

She said the hospital has made improvements on the infection measure, reducing the rate of patient infection.

“The staff has done an incredible job focusing on our community and our patients,” said Chuck Hays, MaineGeneral Health’s president and chief executive officer.

While the medical center does not use these evaluations as its only indicator of performance, Hays said, it does take the findings into consideration for its plan to constantly monitor quality.

We focus not just on quality, but the patient’s perception of quality,” he said.

Hays attributes the grade increase to the dedication of the hospital staff to improving quality. In areas that need strengthening, the medical center puts together focus groups to develop ideas for improvement.

“I think we’re in place to continue to improve quality across the board,” he said.

A hospital rating similar to the Leapfrog evaluation was done by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Medicare.gov. It gave four out of fives stars to MaineGeneral. This comparison also surveyed patients’ experiences.

According to an overview of how CMS rates hospitals, its “rating summarizes a variety of measures across seven areas of quality into a single star rating for each hospital.” These areas are mortality, safety of care, readmission, patient experience, effectiveness of care, timeliness of of care and efficient use of medical imaging.

In response to an email about how it ranks hospitals and levels the playing field for facilities of different sizes, CMS provided an unattributed response, stating that “while CMS can’t comment on grades assigned by the Leapfrog Group, it’s important to note the Leapfrog Group’s methodology and measure set differ from the CMS Overall Hospital Quality Star Ratings, so results between the two are not directly comparable.”

Also this month, Women’s Choice Awards, a marketing firm that surveys women, listed MaineGeneral Medical Center as one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Patient Experience, and the only one in Maine.

Women’s Choice Awards researchers and surveyors evaluated more than 5,000 hospitals nationally using criteria “based on what matters most to women when selecting a hospital for herself and her family,” according to the Women’s Choice Award website.

The comparison reviewed indicators such as doctor and nurse communications, staff help, cleanliness, medication information and others. The medical center also earned awards for America’s Best Hospitals for Cancer Care and for America’s Best Hospitals for Orthopedics.

MaineGeneral Medical Center’s Thayer Center for Health in Waterville also was a recipient of the Healthgrades 2019 Outstanding Patient Experience Award, which is given to the top 10 percent of hospitals in the nation for patient satisfaction, according to a news release by MaineGeneral.

The release also stated that the hospital also received five star ratings by Healthgrades for “outcomes ‘better than expected’” in treatment of heart attack, pneumonia, pancreatitis, sepsis and pulmonary embolism.

Northern Light Inland Hospital in Waterville and Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston both received an A from the Leapfrog rating, while Maine Medical Center in Portland, Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston and Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick received B’s.

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.