Saint Vincent, Heywood, Leonard Morse are region's safest hospitals

BY Grant Welker

Photo/Grant Welker
Photo/Grant Welker
Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester earned an A, the highest ranking, for the ninth straight time by the agency Leapfrog.

Leapfrog rankings of Central Massachusetts hospitals

Saint Vincent Hospital: A

Heywood Hospital: A

Leonard Morse Hospital: A

UMass Memorial Medical Center, Memorial Campus: B

UMass Memorial Medical Center, University Campus: B

Milford Regional Medical Center: C

HealthAlliance Hospital - Leominster: C

MetroWest Medical Center: C

Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester earned the highest grade by a hospital-safety ratings agency for the ninth straight time in a new report released this week.
Saint Vincent received an A grade, an honor matched by Heywood Hospital in Gardner and Leonard Morse Hospital in Natick. UMass Memorial Medical Center's Memorial Campus and University Campus in Worcester each received a B, while three others received a C: Milford Regional Medical Center, HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster and MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham.
The scores were released Tuesday by the Leapfrog Group, a Washington nonprofit tracking hospitals for how well they take steps to avoid patient harm, surgical problems and a number of other criteria. The scores are given twice per year.
Harrington Hospital in Southbridge, UMass Memorial - Marlborough Hospital in Marlborough and Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer were not included in Leapfrog's letter-grade ratings.
Saint Vincent has received all A grades in recent years, and in the most recent report, it scored best in areas rating it on having enough qualified nurses on staff, communication about medicines and having few instances of safety issues such as patient falls.
"I believe receiving this designation for the last five years is a testament to our patients that we are providing them with the highest level of safety and care when they come into our hospital," Saint Vincent CEO Jeffrey Welch said in a statement.
UMass Memorial's two Worcester campuses received B scores after both receiving C's in recent years. Both scored well, for example, for dealing with infections, including for MRSA, or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, an area where other hospitals did poorer.
Heywood scored an A for the third time in seven Leapfrog reports. It had mixed ratings on surgical problems but excelled on having practices in place to prevent errors more broadly.
Leonard Morse Hospital, part of MetroWest Medical Center, received an A after it had a C just last fall. The hospital scored above average on all six rating areas on hospital staff, including having leadership that avoids errors.
Milford Regional received a C after scoring an A on five out of the past six previous Leapfrog reports. The hospital was rated poorly on areas such as problems with surgery, including patients who had a dangerous blood clot and serious breathing problems. It did better on having doctors specially trained to deal with intensive care unit patients.
MetroWest Medical center earned a C for the fourth straight report. It scored more poorly on infections but did well on having practices that prevented errors, such as staff communication about patient discharges.
HealthAlliance in Leominster scored a C for the fifth time out of the last seven Leapfrog reports. It scored worst on practices to prevent errors, including handwashing, though did better on areas including staff responsiveness.
Hospitals are ranked by grade from A to F. Massachusetts was one of the top five states ranked by proportion of hospitals that landed A grades.
Among 56 hospitals ranked in Massachusetts, 30 received an A, 17 received a B and nine received a C.