Merit Health River Region earns C Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade for Spring 2023

Published 5:09 pm Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Merit Health River Region maintained its C letter grade for another season, the Leapfrog Group recently reported.

Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades measure various safety and patient care benchmarks to determine the quality of care in hospitals across the country. In Mississippi, 11 hospitals earned an A grade, six earned a B grade, 23 earned C grades and one hospital earned a D grade.

In Vicksburg and the Jackson Metro area, hospitals aside from Merit Health included in the Leapfrog report are: University of Mississippi Medical Center, C; Merit Health Central, C; Mississippi Baptist Medical Center, C; Merit Health River Oaks, C; Merit Health Rankin, C; St. Dominic-Jackson Medical Center, A; and Merit Health Rankin, A.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Merit Health River Region received top marks in the following categories: Preventing and Responding to Patient Harm and Medication Safety.

The hospital did not show “Limited Achievement” in the area of critical care. The highest standard of care, according to Leapfrog, dictates that hospitals must have intensivists present on-site at least eight hours a day, seven days per week, or have intensivists present via 24/7 telemedicine with some on-site intensivist presence. When not in the ICU, the intensivist immediately responds to calls and has another physician or trained clinician who can immediately reach the patient.

Alicia Carpenter, Director of Marketing for Merit Health, said in a statement the hospital is committed to a high level of care for patients and is proud of the areas in which it has improved.

“At Merit Health River Region, we are committed to delivering quality care to every patient and are dedicated to following national safety best practices,” Carpenter said. “Since the data collection period for the current Leapfrog scores, we have seen improvements across multiple areas including reduction in sepsis mortality rates; reduction in patient falls; decrease in pressure injuries; decline in catheter and central line infections.

“Our increased employee retention and focus on culture has led to improvements in patient experience as demonstrated by higher Centers for Medicare and Medicaid HCAHPS scores and favorable patient reviews across all areas of the hospital, including the ER,” she continued. “As an integral part of the community, Merit Health River Region is committed to providing safe, quality healthcare and delivering value to all we serve.”

Merit Health River Region achieved Leapfrog’s standard for colon infections C. diff bacteria, with a standardized infection ratio of 0.237. According to Leapfrog, the group uses a standardized infection ratio (SIR) calculated by the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) to compare the number of infections that actually happened at this hospital to the number of infections expected for this hospital, given various factors. A number lower than one means fewer infections than expected; a number more than one means more infections than expected.

However, the hospital failed to achieve the standard for blood infections with an SIR of 2.869. It showed “Considerable Achievement” for urinary tract infections with an SIR of 0.455 and “Some Achievement” in the area of MRSA infections, with an SIR of 1.211.

In the realm of maternity care, results were mixed, with high marks in some areas and low marks in others. Merit Health River Region does not perform high-risk deliveries, so no data was recorded for that metric. At 31.7 percent, the hospital’s cesarean section rate is higher than Leapfrog’s standard of 23.6 percent or less.

Merit Health River Region received top marks for early elective deliveries with a zero-percentage rate, well below Leapfrog’s standard of 5 percent or less. It also received top marks for screening newborn babies for jaundice before discharge, with a rate of 96.2 percent, and for blood clot prevention in mothers undergoing c-sections, with a rate of 93.9 percent.

The hospital got low marks, however, for its 15.8 percent episiotomy rate — Leapfrog’s highest standard is 5 percent or less.

Click here to review the complete breakdown of Merit Health River Region’s Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade.