Franklin Memorial Hospital safety scores jump

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Franklin Memorial Hospital is one of Maine’s highest-rated hospitals, according to The Leapfrog Group. (Morning Sentinel file photo)

FARMINGTON — Franklin Memorial Hospital is once again one of Maine’s highest-rated hospitals, a turnaround one year after its rating fell to one of the worst.

The Leapfrog Group, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that tracks health care safety, quality and value, gave Franklin Memorial an “A” for safety Tuesday.

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“It feels good,” said Shelly Shibles, Franklin Memorial’s regional vice president for quality and safety. “That’s where we want to be. I think it’s really great for the staff to get that recognition for all the hard work they’ve been doing.”

The Farmington hospital earned high scores for having few surgical problems, few patient safety issues, high staff responsiveness and low rates of Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infections.

Franklin Memorial was not graded on a handful of other measures, including infection rates during ICU stays, because it did not have enough patients to report those categories. 

It received a poor score for its lack of specially trained doctors to care for ICU patients. Shibles said the hospital doesn’t have a specialist because it’s too small and it has too few patients who need that kind of care.

Leapfrog grades hospitals on safety twice a year. Franklin Memorial had gotten straight A’s since 2013, but it suddenly dropped to a C last fall. At the time, a hospital safety official said the problem was not with safety but with the fact that the hospital wasn’t able to submit a key staff survey in time. She said the hospital also didn’t have a full electronic medical records system, which counted against it.

However, Leapfrog disagreed at the time. A representative said Franklin Memorial earned a C largely because it had a worsening C. diff infection rate, an increase in patient falls and at least one incident in the past two years in which a dangerous object was left in a patient’s body during surgery.

Franklin Memorial got another C this past spring. 

This season’s A makes the hospital one of the highest-rated in the state. Of the 16 Maine hospitals graded by Leapfrog, 11 received A’s and five received B’s. None received a C or lower.

Central Maine Medical Center and St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston each received a B. That was a drop for St. Mary’s, which had gotten straight A’s since at least 2014.

“St. Mary’s tracks all data that is captured by Leapfrog,” said St. Mary’s Interim President Peter Holden. “I assure you that the St. Mary’s team will vigorously address the findings and work to guarantee future grades meet our expectations and, most importantly, the expectations of our patients.”

ltice@sunjournal.com

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