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GBMC One of 12 Hospitals to Receive 'A' Grade for Safety


Korey Karnes Huyler for GBMC

May 28, 2020
The Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC) recently earned an A grade from The Leapfrog Group, a national hospital-safety organization. The A grade means that GBMC received the highest rating possible for protecting patients from errors, injuries and infections. GBMC is one of only 12 hospitals in the state to achieve this high mark.

“Our A rating can assure patients that GBMC has effectively deployed best practices to reduce harm,” explains Carolyn Candiello, GBMC’s vice president of quality and patient safety. “This includes both care-delivery practices and also leadership practices.”

The Leapfrog Group, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, gives its hospital safety grades twice per year based on categories that evaluate patient safety. The goal is to determine what a patient's risk of injury or infection is if they are cared for at a given hospital. GBMC’s A grade reflects the Leapfrog Group’s hospital safety grades for spring 2020, especially important during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“While Leapfrog doesn’t encompass COVID-19, it does speak to our organization’s ability to implement best practices to achieve sustained positive outcomes,” explains Candiello. “Our leadership team, as well as our frontline care providers, use systematic processes to respond to the ever-changing guidelines to keep our patients and staff safe. Patients should feel safe coming here for care during this crisis.”

What About COVID-19?

Because of the crisis, GBMC HealthCare has measures in place beyond separating COVID-19 positive patients from patients who are not infected. These include tents outside of the emergency department where nurses and medical technicians can triage patients who are showing respiratory symptoms, extensive cleaning processes, required temperature screenings and mask usage, and limited numbers of people in offices to allow for proper distancing.

“Ignoring your health and delaying your care because of the threat of COVID-19 is not a good idea. I want to assure people that you are safe at GBMC, as COVID-19-positive patients are sequestered, so the risk is very minimal, and we want people with other medical needs to contact their physician or come to our hospital as necessary,” said John B. Chessare, MD, president and CEO of GBMC HealthCare. “We are proud of this honor from The Leapfrog Group, and we are working every day to move toward our vision of providing our patients with the care that we would want for our own loved ones. This A grade recognizes our ardent efforts in patient safety even during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Candiello lists some reasons GBMC received this top grade:

GBMC’s integrated electronic health record, which can be accessed by providers throughout the care continuum. “Leveraging this system, we have implemented leading-edge practices designed to provide high-quality care,” she explains. “In 2019, GBMC received the prestigious HIMSS Davies Award of Excellence, which demonstrates our ability to improve clinical care using our electronic health record. GBMC was the only health system in Maryland to achieve this award and one of only 11 worldwide.”

Standard Safety Practices, like Enhanced Recovery Surgical Innovation (ERSI). “This led to improved outcomes for patients with fewer opioids and reduced surgical-site infections,” she explains.

Implementation of best practices identified by the National Quality Forum and measured by the Leapfrog Group, including:
  • 24/7 physician coverage in the GBMC ICUs — by board-certified critical care physicians.
  • Safe medication practices, including barcode scanning and medication reconciliation. “These processes help ensure we have the right at-home medication list and that patients receive the correct medication and dose,” says Candiello.
  • GBMC’s hand-hygiene program. “GBMC has a robust hand-hygiene monitoring program and results are closely monitored by senior leadership and the board of directors,” she explains.
  • Safe nurse staffing levels and education on patient safety.
“GBMC evaluates many metrics as part of our daily work and has been doing so for many years,” explains Candiello. “We want our community to know that our efforts and energy are focused on our patients and their needs. Leapfrog is one of many tools that the public can utilize to make decisions regarding their healthcare needs such as choosing a hospital. We are very proud of the A rating and the validation of our commitment to providing the highest quality care to our community.”
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