Of 13 top rural hospitals, five in Maine

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Rumford Hospital

A national group has deemed 13 rural hospitals to be the best in the country.

The Leapfrog Group on Tuesday also named its top urban hospitals. Sixty-seven hospitals made that list, including two in Maine — Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston and Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport.

This is the first time CMMC and Pen Bay have been named top urban hospitals by Leapfrog. Last week, they also received grades of "A" in Leapfrog's new ratings of hospital safety efforts — a requirement before a hospital can be considered for a top urban hospital.

"This is a real morale builder for everybody here," CMMC spokesman Randall Dustin said. "It's something that has been coming up here in discussions now for years. To see things come to fruition like this, it's huge."

Of the 13, five are in Maine.

"Maine has done something that's really amazing," said Missy Danforth, senior director for hospital ratings for the Leapfrog Group, a Washington D.C.-based organization that tracks health care safety, quality and value and uses that information to name the best hospitals in the country each year.

The five rural Maine hospitals recognized for 2012 are: Calais Regional Hospital, Inland Hospital in Waterville, Mount Desert Island Hospital Organization, Rumford Hospital and Sebasticook Valley Health.

Maine is the only state to have more than one rural hospital on the list. The other hospitals are in Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Tennessee.

To make the list, a hospital must have completed a Leapfrog survey and must have received high scores in safety, quality and use of resources.

"It's fabulous. I think it shows the attention that hospitals in the state of Maine pay to the outlying areas that they serve," said Randall Dustin, who spoke for Central Maine Healthcare, which includes Rumford Hospital and Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. "Rumford, they're ecstatic about this. They think it's tremendous. The health care environment right now is tough, so something like this just buoys everybody's spirits."

He said the recognition represents a long-term effort by Rumford Hospital to improve quality and care.  

Although two Maine hospitals made the list together in past years, this is the first time five have. Leapfrog largely credits the Maine Health Management Coalition, a Portland-based nonprofit group of employers, hospitals, insurers and doctors dedicated to improving health care, because that group has pushed hospitals to complete Leapfrog's survey and publicly report their data.

About 1,200 hospitals nationwide completed the most recent Leapfrog survey. In Maine, all eligible hospitals completed it, a compliance rate unheard of in the rest of the country.

That public reporting means employers and patients can see how good a hospital is. The better a hospital, the more likely those employers are to put that hospital in its preferred provider network for insurance and the more likely patients are to use it.

Hospitals make more money when more people use them, so hospitals feel the pressure to report — and then feel the pressure to improve their scores.

"This is really an accomplishment that benefits everybody," said Elizabeth Mitchell, CEO of the Maine Health Management Coalition. "We really need to recognize how important this is to patients and what an achievement it is by the hospitals. This is a really big deal."


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 's picture

Rumford? Seriously?

Despite what I'm reading in the comments below, and certainly despite this story, Rumford has one of the worst reputations in the state - and for good reason. I don't know ANYONE who would have anything nice to say about that hospital. I keep all of my providers in Farmington and through the Franklin Memorial Hospital network because of their far superior quality of care. Every time I have set foot into Rumford Hospital's emergency room, the bedside manner has been terrible and the cleanliness and conditions of the building are far less than satisfactory. When I have mentioned what town I live in to other providers (not even in the Western region), they agree with my experience and cite their own.

With that in mind, I now shudder at the idea of ever visiting any one of the other hospitals listed, nor any other "rural" hospital in the country - surely they must be deplorable considering what the bar has been set at.

 's picture

Yes, good to see Rumford on the list

But where is Farmington Hospital? It has a much better reputation. Is it not deserved?

 's picture

The story said:

"To make the list, a hospital must have completed a Leapfrog survey and must have received high scores in safety, quality and use of resources."

Did the Farmington Hospital do that. If you're really interested, you could call Farmington hospital and ask.

The Very Rev. Daniel Beegan 's picture

Rumford Hospital Hits High Marks

When I lived in Rumford, the quality of care at the local hospital was excellent for what it is, a small, rural. crtitical access facility.

I am pleased it has shaken off the "Band-aid station" image it once had. It hasn't been that way for years.


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