By Rachel Baldauf
The Scotland Health Care System maintained a “B” safety grade in a new report from a nonprofit group that advocates for patient safety at medical centers across the country.
Three other hospitals in North Carolina’s Border Belt – UNC Health Southeastern, Columbus Regional Healthcare System and Cape Fear Valley Medical Center – all received C grades from The Leapfrog Group, which released its biannual grades on Monday.
To determine a hospital’s grade, the group considers several metrics under five categories: infections, problems with surgeries, safety issues, practices to prevent errors, and doctors, nurses and hospital staff.
The report suggested improved infection rates at hospitals nationwide since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leapfrog says its safety grades are meant to provide important safety information about hospitals in an easy-to-understand format.
“One of the most significant problems with today’s health care system is the failure to make safety and quality information available to the public,” the group says on its website. “But the public deserves this information so they can make informed choices about where to receive care.”
Here’s a breakdown of the grades for local hospitals. You can also check out the full list of grades for hospitals in North Carolina and across the country.
Scotland Health Care System
The Scotland Health Care System in Laurinburg received a B, the same grade it received last spring and up from a C grade in fall 2022.
The Laurinburg hospital scored below average for infections in the urinary tract, surgical wounds splitting open, communication about discharge and doctors ordering medications through a computer.
The hospital earned above-average scores for metrics including MRSA infections, dangerous objects left in patients’ bodies, dangerous bed sores, patient falls and injuries, handwashing, safe medication administration, and communication with doctors and nurses.
UNC Health Southeastern
UNC Health Southeastern in Lumberton received a C, maintaining the same grade it received last spring.
The hospital scored below average in four of six metrics relating to doctors, nurses and hospital staff: nursing and bedside care for patients, responsiveness of hospital staff and communication with doctors and with nurses.
It also scored below average for infections in the blood and urinary tract, serious breathing problems, patient falls and injuries, falls causing broken hips, dangerous blood clots and communication about discharge.
The hospital earned above-average grades for most practices to prevent error, including handwashing and safe medication administration. It also received above-average grades for other metrics including MRSA, C. diff and sepsis infections, dangerous objects left in patients’ bodies, accidental cuts and tears, dangerous bed sores and effective leadership to prevent errors.
Columbus Regional Healthcare System
Columbus Regional Healthcare System earned a C, the same grade it has gotten each reporting period since fall 2019.
Columbus Regional got below-average scores in five of six infection categories: MRSA, C. diff, infections in the blood and urinary tract and sepsis infections after surgery.
The hospital also received below-average scores for harmful events, communication about medicines, nursing and bedside care for patients, responsiveness of hospital staff and having specially trained doctors care for ICU patients.
Above-average scores were determined for most practices to prevent error, including handwashing and safe medication administration. The hospital also scored above average for dangerous objects left in patients’ bodies, blood leakage, patient falls and injuries, air or gas bubbles in the blood, communication with doctors and effective leadership to prevent errors.
Cape Fear Valley Medical Center
The Bladen County hospital in Elizabethtown is under the umbrella of Fayetteville-based Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, which received a C grade. That is the same score it has gotten each reporting period since fall 2021.
Cape Fear received below-average grades in four out of seven metrics in the Safety Problems category: harmful events, dangerous bed sores, collapsed lungs and dangerous blood clots.
Below-average scores were also determined for infections in the urinary tract and deaths from serious treatable complications.
The hospital earned above-average scores for five of six practices to prevent error, including safe medication administration and handwashing. It also received above-average scores for most problems with surgery, including blood leakage and accidental cuts and tears.