You can take the Leapfrog group’s assessment of hospitals with a grain of salt, but the review of procedures and the impact on the health and safety of patients is a good measuring stick when you decide where to go for health care.

One hospital CEO told us a couple of years ago that the difference between a B score and a C for his facility was one disgruntled patient who complained about their care.

That said, the most recent grades for hospitals in Sarasota, Charlotte and DeSoto counties were some of the best we’ve seen. For that, we’re thankful, and we applaud the management of those hospitals for making the effort to be the best they can be.

Venice Regional Bayfront Hospital, Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Doctors Hospital of Sarasota and Englewood Community Hospital — all in Sarasota County — earned the coveted A grade.

That honor is not unusual, as Doctors has earned 15 straight A grades and Englewood Community has 19 consecutive A scores. Both are owned by HCA Healthcare. Venice Regional and SMH are on streaks of their own.

DeSoto Memorial Hospital in Arcadia, which had not participated in the Leapfrog review recently, also earned an A grade — a real badge of honor for one of the area’s smallest facilities.

In Charlotte County, there were no A scores, but two facilities improved to a B grade and they deserve applause for that jump.

Fawcett Memorial and Bayfront Health Port Charlotte went from a C to a B grade. Bayfront Punta Gorda kept its C score.

Grading criteria are divided into two categories. One is process/structural measures, which grade how often a hospital gives patients recommended treatment and the environment in which care is given.

The second category is for outcome measures, which represent what happens to a patient who receives care, if they have to have follow-up procedures, etc.

“Fawcett Memorial Hospital is pleased to have been awarded a B Safety Grade from the Leapfrog Group for fall 2021,” Alex Benjamin, Communications and Community Engagement director, said. “This is a reflection of the safety focus that our dedicated team of physicians and caregivers bring to our hospital each day in providing compassionate care safely to the patients we are privileged to serve”

Keep in mind, the latest scores — and the previous reviews six months or so ago — came during one of the most stressful periods for America’s healthcare industry ever as the pandemic pushed staffs to their physical limits and threatened to overwhelm hospitals’ capacity to treat patients.

In a news story by Venice Gondolier senior writer Bob Mudge, Sarasota Memorial Chief Medical Officer James Fiorica talked of the hurdles that presented.

“Despite the challenges we have faced throughout the pandemic, the entire team at SMH has worked incredibly hard to continue providing the highest quality of care to all of our patients,” he said in a news release. “Their commitment to this community is incredible, and we are so grateful for their efforts.”

Englewood Community Hospital CEO Steve Young echoed those remarks.

“Every day we work to make a difference in the lives of those we are privileged to serve and we are honored to be recognized by national groups such as Leapfrog,” he said.

There’s not much we can add except that we are pleased our hospitals perform their responsibilities to such a high level of excellence.


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