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Jefferson Regional among top 5 percent in nation for patient safety

Jefferson Regional Medical Center is one of the top-performing hospitals in the country based on patient safety data compiled by Medicare and tabulated by HealthGrades, the leading independent healthcare ratings organization.

On April 7, HealthGrades announced its 2009 Patient Safety Excellence Award recipients based on the data from nearly 5,000 hospitals in the country. Jefferson Regional was rated in the top 5 percent nationwide, and one of only three in the St. Louis region to receive the award.

“Patient safety is of the utmost importance to us, so we are very proud to have received this distinction,” said Jefferson Health System President and CEO Lloyd Ford, PhD, FACHE. “We know that our employees and medical staff are diligent about preventing errors, accidents or other difficulties for patients under our care.”

Jefferson Regional provides on-going, on-site training for its nurses and other clinical staff as well as information for all employees to focus on patient safety.

“We offer an entire catalog of courses to provide the best and most current information for all staff,” said Michelle Hilburn, RN, Director of Quality and Education. “We recently held an in-service featuring Dr. Lawrence Billy presenting information about prevention and early identification of pressure ulcers, also known as bed sores.”  

Beverly Johnson, RN, Vice President of Patient Care Services at Jefferson Regional, attributed the distinction to the work of physicians and all clinical staff including nurses, nurses aids, therapists and others offering direct patient care.

“We have such a dedicated staff and they all deserve credit for this achievement,” Johnson said. “This award belongs to everyone, from the triage nurse who is the first person to see a patient in the emergency department to the nurses and staff on all of the floors offering levels of service from intensive care to personal compassion.”

As the Chief Nursing Officer, Johnson has established a Patient Safety Committee to focus on elimination of potential errors in patient care.

“The patient safety committee looks at all things that could put patients at risk,” Johnson said. “We are going to focus on achieving national patient safety goals, and we are called on to eliminate or reduce errors.”

Rick May, MD, is the senior physician consultant for HealthGrades and co-author of the study. Many of the errors reflected in the report are preventable, he said.

“The good news is that there are hospitals that are doing an amazing job when it comes to patient safety, and we commend them,” Dr. May said. “Patients need to know that they have a substantially lower risk of experiencing a medical error and therefore a lower risk of complications when they are admitted to one of these exceptional top-performing hospitals.”

Among the study highlights is the comparison that determined patients treated at the top-performing hospitals like Jefferson Regional had a 43 percent lower chance of experiencing a medical error than those treated at the poorest performing facilities.

The sixth annual HealthGrades Patient Safety in American Hospital Study reviewed the records of more than 900,000 patients at virtually all non-federal hospitals in the country in 12 patient safety indicators including bed sores, post-operative complications, falls, excessive bleeding, selective infections, accidental puncture or laceration, and others.

If all hospitals performed at the level of Patient Safety Excellence Award hospitals, approximately 211,697 patient safety events and 22,771 Medicare deaths could have been avoided while saving the U.S. approximately $2 billion from 2005 through 2007, according to the study data.

“Every hospital across the country should continually strive for improvement until their rate of patient safety events is as close to zero as possible,” Dr. May said. “We congratulate Jefferson Regional Medical Center because they continually demonstrate their extraordinary commitment to the reduction of patient safety events.”

Jefferson Regional Medical Center is a 226-bed, non-profit community hospital located at the intersection of U.S. Highways 61 and 67 in Crystal City, Mo. For more information call 1-800-931-JRMC (5762) or visit the website

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