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Video tour of the newly built UMMC School of Medicine Building with surgical trainings and lifelike dummies.
Elijah Baylis / The Clarion-Ledger

Mississippi fell in the national ranking of the percentage of A-hospitals per state.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center says it is making progress on improving sanitation and patient safety on the main campus, and the latest scorecard from a national hospital watchdog is correct to [19659008] The Leapfrog group gave the UMMC a C rating in its Spring 2018 Report Card compared to a D last fall.

UMMC officials were shocked when Leapfrog gave the hospital an F in the fall of 2015. That was exactly how Dr. Michael Henderson, chief medical officer of UMMC, boarded the Cleveland Clinic Health System in Ohio where he helped improve patient safety dramatically

The Leapfrog score consists of 27 measurements for factors that affect patient safety, such as hand hygiene, responsiveness of personnel, infections, foreign objects found after operations and other medical errors.

The data used by Leapfrog is two or more years old, and Henderson said UMMC would now be considered a B or A hospital based on the latest data from 2016 and 2017.

"It'll be another two or three years before you see that," Henderson said last fall. "There is this time lag from what is happening in the place right now, and the scores reflect how many places were two or three years ago."

Other hospitals ranked

As a state, Mississippi fell from 20th place for the percentage of hospitals with A grades to 26. The percentage of these hospitals slipped slightly from one-third to 29 percent.

Beyond UMMC, Mississippi Hospitals improved their score from last fall Baptist Memorial Hospital of North Mississippi at Oxford (A), Highland Community Hospital at Picayune (A), Northwest Mississippi Medical Center at Clarksdale (B) and South Central Regional Medical Center in Laurel (B). Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center in McComb had the most dramatic improvement, moving from a D class last fall to A.

Hospitals that rejected Baptist Memorial Hospital Desoto at Southaven (D), Baptist Memorial Hospital of Union County in New Albany ( B), the Garden Park Medical Center at Gulfport (B), the North Mississippi Medical Center at Tupelo (B), the OCH Regional Medical Center at Starkville (B).

Merit Health River Oaks was graded for the first time this spring and received a B.

Hospital safety is improving nationwide, according to the report, which has five hospitals that have received A-Grade in the past First time

"The national death and damage figures in hospitals have alarmed us for decades, and what we see in the new round of security levels is evidence that many hospitals are significantly improving their patient safety," said Leah Binder, President and CEO CEO of Leapfrog, said in a statement.

Making Improvements

The improvements come as UMMC physicians, nurses, and environmental workers are experiencing a culture change in the mutual responsibility of patient safety. Take handwash, for example.

"Hand hygiene sounds easy, but it's one of the hardest things to do in a hospital," Henderson said.

When Henderson measured the rate of hand washing before and after entering the patient room in 2015, it was around 50 percent. In the first year of Henderson's comprehensive improvement program, UMMC achieved its goal of 75 percent, close to 80 percent last fall.

UMMC's Grenada campus remains the only state-owned F-hospital after being downgraded by a C last fall.

Henderson said at the time that he disagreed with the F-grade for the Grenada Hospital and could not explain it. How did Leapfrog come to this conclusion?

"I would not call Grenada a F Hospital, it serves this community well," he said.

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