UMMC Leaps onto List of Nation's Top 50 Hospitals for Safety and Quality

For immediate release: October 26, 2006


Bill Seiler

[email protected]

First-Ever "Leapfrog Top Hospitals" List is Based on National Quality and Safety Survey

In recognition of its top levels of performance in patient safety and quality of care, the University of Maryland Medical Center has been named to a first-ever list of the nation's 50 best acute-care hospitals by the Leapfrog Group. The Leapfrog Group uses objective criteria to rate hospitals based on outcomes and patient volume for selected high-risk procedures in addition to staffing levels and specific measures taken to ensure patient safety.

The Leapfrog Group was founded by the Business Roundtable to represent the nation's largest corporations and public agencies that buy health benefits for employees. The organization intends to use its influence to initiate breakthrough improvements – or "leaps" – in health care safety, quality and affordability.

The University of Maryland Medical Center was among 1,200 hospitals that submitted data and documentation for the Leapfrog Hospital Quality and Safety Survey in the spring and summer of 2006, but only a select group of 50 hospitals was included on a list that was published on October 16 on the Leapfrog Group’s web site. (Nine children’s hospitals were also highlighted on a separate list).

"Inclusion on the Leapfrog Group's list of the nation’s top performing hospitals demonstrates our continuous focus on quality patient care and patient safety," says Jeffrey A. Rivest, president and chief executive officer of the University of Maryland Medical Center. "It is a reflection of the diligence and dedication of our clinical staff—the doctors, nurses, pharmacists and all the others on our patient care team," adds Rivest.

"We earned the highest possible score from Leapfrog for our activities to prevent infections, medication errors, and complications," says Timothy J. Babineau, MD, MBA, the senior vice president and chief medical officer for the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Another issue important to the Leapfrog Group is whether hospitals staff their intensive care units with intensivists - physicians with specialized training in intensive or critical care. The University of Maryland Medical Center has staffing by intensivists in its surgical, medical, neurological, cardiac surgery, multi-trauma and pediatric ICUs. (The hospital’s Cardiac Care Unit is staffed by cardiologists).

Attention to adequate staffing of nurses and good communication among health care workers and between those workers and patients are also part of the Leapfrog Group’s criteria, and are two areas in which the medical center scored very high.

"The recruitment and retention of an exceptional group of nurses is crucial to providing excellent care and creating a great work environment," says Mary Beth Esposito-Herr, Ph.D, R.N., interim senior vice president for Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer.

The Leapfrog Group also evaluated the number of high-risk procedures performed at each hospital as part of its criteria, since the higher the number and the more experience an institution has, the better the outcomes.

For example, the University of Maryland Medical Center performed 764 cases of percutaneous coronary intervention (such as balloon angioplasty) in one year, and the Leapfrog standard was 400. Other areas where the medical center’s volume exceeded the Leapfrog standard were abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, esophagectomy, pancreatic resection, high-risk deliveries and neonatal ICU cases.

Another initiative for earning top honors was a hospital's implementation of electronic order entry, which means that lab tests, imaging studies and medications are ordered by physicians electronically, to reduce errors. According to Dr. Babineau, "The University of Maryland Medical Center has made significant progress in this area. Of the 1,200 hospitals that responded to the Leapfrog survey, less than 1 in 10 had implemented computer physician order entry to Leapfrog’s standard."

"In contrast to many other organization’s health care rankings and report cards, Leapfrog has a great amount of credibility because it is founded on evidence-based medicine and on actual clinical processes and patient care data, rather than relying substantially on opinions and reputations. It is for that reason that we are especially proud of this national recognition and it shows how a strong partnership among all staff can produce excellence," Rivest says.

The University of Maryland Medical Center is a major, innovative teaching hospital in downtown Baltimore that provides a full range of health care to people from throughout Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic region. It is a referral center for the most serious and complicated health problems in adults and children, including cancer, trauma, heart disease, neurological conditions and organ transplants.

For patient inquiries or to make an appointment, call 1-800-492-5538.