Central Maine Medical Center Sun Journal file photo

LEWISTON — A national health care safety group has given Central Maine Medical Center an A grade for safety.

The Leapfrog Group, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, tracks health care safety, quality and value at hospitals and releases safety grades twice a year. It gave CMMC an A last fall and announced Wednesday that it was giving CMMC an A again for spring.

The news comes weeks after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services told the hospital it would pull Medicare and Medicaid funding if the hospital didn’t fix patient safety and other problems found by investigators earlier this year.

The grade makes CMMC one of Leapfrog’s highest-rated hospitals in the state. Of the 16 hospitals graded in Maine, eight received As, seven received Bs and one received a C.

“Quality and safety are our highest priorities,” CMMC President David Tupponce said in a statement released Wednesday. “This A grade in hospital safety validates our efforts and our consistent progress toward those goals.”

Leapfrog looks at hospitals’ infection rates, patient injuries, surgical problems, safety practices and staff behavior. It said CMMC performed well when it came to rates of a specific staph infection, urinary tract infections and surgical site infections after colon surgery. The hospital also did well with surgical wounds staying closed, hand-washing by workers, air embolism rates, staff communication, tracking and reducing medical errors, and maintaining effective leadership to prevent errors.

Leapfrog said the hospital performed poorly when it came to rates of some other infections, death from treatable complications, dangerous blood clots, objects left in patients after surgery, patient falls and injuries, and responsiveness of hospital staff.

Much of Leapfrog’s data come from two sources: the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and voluntary surveys filled out by the hospitals in 2018.

Leapfrog used only the hospital’s voluntary surveys to determine how well CMMC tracked and reduced medical errors and whether it maintained effective leadership to prevent errors — two of the areas CMS has ordered the hospital to improve on because its investigators found serious problems.

When Leapfrog used CMS data to determine how well the hospital did in other areas, according to Leapfrog, that information was from June 2018 or earlier, predating the cases cited by CMS investigators.

CMS has told the hospital it will stop paying for its Medicare and Medicaid patients unless the hospital fixes the issues uncovered by investigators in recent months. Such a move would affect not only Medicare and Medicaid patients who use the hospital but also MaineCare recipients who use CMMC doctors or any of the nearly 50 clinics and medical practices affiliated with CMMC.

The hospital has until June 30 to address its issues or lose tens of millions of dollars a year, a chunk of its annual revenue.

Hospital leaders have said they are working on the problems cited by investigators and do not expect to lose those payments.

“We continue to work very closely with our federal and state partners and have every expectation that we will be found in compliance with standards,” Tupponce said Wednesday. “In fact, we’ve received positive feedback from CMS about our progress in meeting our goals.”

St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston received a B from Leapfrog on Wednesday, one grade lower than the A it had received last fall. Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington also received a B, the same grade it had received in the fall.

PenBay Medical Center in Rockport received the state’s only C.