More than 2,500 general acute care hospitals across the country were given a letter grade through the Hospital Safety Score program by The Leapfrog Group.
In the spring results, 122 Pennsylvania hospitals were graded and 22 received A grades, including Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest and Muhlenberg campuses.
Locally, Palmerton Hospital in Palmerton, St. Luke's University Hospital-Bethlehem and Pocono Medical Center in East Stroudsburg received a B grade; Gnaden Huetten Memorial Hospital in Lehighton, Hazleton General Hospital in Hazleton and Schuylkill Medical Center-South Jackson Street in Pottsville received a C; and Schuylkill Medical Center-East Norwegian Street in Pottsville received a D.
St. Luke's Hospital - Miners Campus in Coaldale was not graded.
Erica Mobley, senior communications director at The Leapfrog Group, said that some hospitals don't receive grades for a number of reasons maybe they don't have enough data available to assign a grade because they don't complete enough of the procedures used in the grading process, are smaller and don't have enough patient volume in the categories being graded, or are a specialty hospital, which doesn't have to participate.
Lisa Johnson, vice president of public relations and marketing at Blue Mountain Health System, which comprises Gnaden Huetten Memorial and Palmerton hospitals, said that the data collected for this program sometimes does not reflect the most up-to-date procedures at the hospital.
"The evolution of evidence-based medicine provided vast amounts of information that we shared and used to educate our physicians and staff," she said in a statement.
"At that time, we were in a transition period with implementing electronic medical records, which has helped us improve our patient safety efforts, and those efforts will be reflected in our current measures."
Johnson said the "C" and "B" grades were better than the average performing hospitals.
"You'll notice one area in particular that affected our grade is the computerized physician order entry. The time period covered for that particular measure was 2012, and our CPOE system was not implemented until December 2012," Johnson said. "That being said, we anticipate the score for both hospitals for that particular measurement will be significantly better in the next time period."
Lehigh Valley Hospital representatives echoed Johnson's thoughts regarding its new Hazleton site.
"The data used for the latest Leapfrog Hospital Safety Score report dates back prior to June 30, 2013," said Matthew Burns, media relations coordinator at Lehigh Valley Health Network on Hazleton General Hospital's C score. "That would have been before the merger with LVHN became official on Jan. 1, 2014. Going forward, we are looking at the LVH-Hazleton data and determining where there are opportunities for improvement and will certainly address those."
On the A scores of both Lehigh Valley Hospital's Cedar Crest and Muhlenberg campuses, the hospital released the following statement:
"Results like this are only achieved when a team works together to make patient safety a priority," said Ronald Swinfard, MD, Lehigh Valley Health Network's president and CEO. "All of our physicians, nurses and staff devote time to our patients by working together and trusting each other as a team to deliver the highest quality care in the safest environment. These A scores for hospital safety are evidence of the passion, dedication, expertise and compassion demonstrated by all of my colleagues in caring for our community."