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Providence St. Joseph receives higher-than-average hospital-safety grade

For the third consecutive year, Providence St. Joseph Medical Center received a B grade for this past fall from the Leapfrog Group.

While getting high marks is a positive, Dr. Susan Melvin, chief medical officer for St. Joseph, said she and her staff are focused on providing high levels of care every day.

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Leapfrog, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit that grades hospitals nationwide for their patient safety, releases hospital grades twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall.

It is St. Joseph’s third B grade since fall 2017, an improvement over the C and D grades the hospital has received in the past — a C in the spring of 2016 and D grades in the fall of 2016 and spring of 2017.

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“I think [the Leapfrog grade] reflects on a lot of work and a lot of focus on quality,” Melvin said.

“I’d like to think that we would be doing all those things whether we were graded on it or not. It’s about delivery and quality care and good experience to the people in the community of Burbank. I feel like we are doing that,” she added.

According to the Leapfrog survey, Providence St. Joseph performed above average in many areas, including addressing complications during surgeries, safety problems and infections around the surgical site after colon surgery.

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However, Melvin said she is aware of the areas where the hospital needs work, especially cutting down on infections.

Every time a patient developed an infection throughout any point of their stay at the hospital, Melvin and her staff reviewed how it occurred and found ways to minimize or end them from happening in the future.

“We have been focused on cutting down the number of infections for some time now,” she said.

“With our most current data, which is not reflected in the score, we continue to do very well,” she added.

Despite bouncing back from the less than stellar grades the hospital received two years ago, Melvin said there is still plenty of work to be done to keep the care at St. Joseph at a high level.

She said one of the areas where it’s more difficult to consistently perform well is the patient experience, which she said has been changing year to year.

“In medicine, we know that patients that have a good experience in the hospital or in the doctor’s office have better outcomes when you treat them,” Melvin said. “Making sure that that experience is as good as we can possibly get it is a primary goal.”

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