HOUSTON COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — Twice a year, every hospital in the nation is graded on factors relating to patient safety.

Each hospital is given a letter grade based on how they performed in protecting patients from preventable harm and error while in the medical facility.

Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, which grades hospitals on quality, safety, and transparency in inpatient care is the organization responsible for the local hospitals grading.

For the first time ever, Southeast Heath was given an ‘A’ for the Spring of 2022.

“The difficulty doesn’t lie in achieving the score, the difficulty lies in our commitment to excellence, in our work and in our staff work, to be the best we can each day,” Chief Medical Officer at Southeast Health, Dr. George Narby said.

The grades are based on how well a hospital contains infections within its hospital, problems with surgeries, safety, how well a hospital practice preventing errors, and total efforts made by all hospital staff.

Southeast Health scored its lowest grade, a ‘D’, in the spring of 2019.

Officials said the turnaround comes from a combination of both clinical and non-clinical teams coming together. The hospital wants to ensure the community will strive its best to maintain this accomplishment and continue its efforts to become a top 100 hospital in the county.

The community should be proud that they have a place like Southeast Health to turn to in their time of need for their healthcare needs,” Dr. Narby said.

Flowers Hospital was given a ‘B’ grade.

Flowers performed below average in preventing death from serious treatable complications and also communicating with nurses.

“Flowers Hospital is committed to providing safe, quality care for every patient. We take every opportunity to further increase quality and service, including initiatives such as medication safety, reduction in infections and post-operative complications. Tracking quality data, daily attention to process improvement, and collaboration between our employees and the medical staff support the delivery of safe care and improvements over time. When choosing where to receive medical care, we encourage consumers to consider a variety of factors such as speaking with their physician about their individual care plan.”

Emiliy Darnell, Directing of Marketing for Flowers Hospital

Flowers Hospital performed above average in having specially trained doctors care for ICU patients, communication with doctors, and staff working together to prevent errors.

As for Medical Center Enterprise, they were given a ‘C.’ The hospital scored below average in the responsiveness of hospital staff, patient falls, and injuries staff working together to prevent errors, and other categories.

“During the pandemic, our patients were much sicker and thus more vulnerable to infections and the exacerbation of existing medical problems. In addition, due to the need for isolation to prevent the spread of the virus, the hospital experience for patients and their families was not what any of us would have liked. These scores reflect these challenges and should not be taken as a picture of our ongoing quality of care. It’s difficult to combine a variety of performance measures on a number of topics into a simple rating system to describe the quality of care a hospital provides. Medical Center Enterprise has always placed the care and safety of our patients first, and will continue to do so.”

Lisa Fenner, Marketing Director for Medical Center Enterprise

Medical Center Enterprise scored above average in communication about discharge, staff working together to prevent errors and communication about medicines.

Hospitals can either volunteer for the grading, or Leapfrog can take public data to come up with the grade, something Dale Medical Center opted for. The hospital was also given a ‘C’ for the Spring of 2022.

The hospital performed below average in harmful events falls, causing broken hips, and administering medication safely. However, the hospital also scored above average in some categories which include, the responsiveness of hospital staff, communication with doctors, communication about medicines, and more.

We have reached out for comment from officials at Dale Medical Center, but at this time, haven’t received a response.