FLMC earns top grade in health care

Suzanne Miller, Fort Loudoun Medical Center chief nursing officer, verifies data on hospital equipment.

Fort Loudoun Medical Center in Lenoir City was recently tabbed a top performer in safety and performance across several health care categories.

FLMC earned an “A” rating in safety for fall 2021 from The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization that focuses on improvements in quality, safety and cost of medical care for Americans. The grade marks the first A since spring 2019.

The hospital earned two consecutive B grades in spring and fall 2020, respectively, a C in spring 2020 and a B in fall 2019.

Jessica Kalin, FLMC marketing manager, said the hospital was notified of the grade in the middle of November.

“This ‘A’ grade from Leapfrog is another testament to the continuous hard work and dedication our entire staff has put in to making our hospital a consistently high quality facility that the community can count on,” Jeffrey Feike, chief administrative officer and president of FLMC, said in a release. “We want to provide exceptional experiences to anyone who enters our doors, and I am gratified to see continuing evidence of that in our ‘A’ grade.”

The Leapfrog Group assigns letter grades A through F to hospitals across the country based on more than 30 national performance measures that reflect errors, injuries, infections and accidents, along with systems hospitals have in place to ensure patient safety from preventable harm and medical errors. Grading is peer-reviewed and fully transparent.

Grades are given twice a year, in the spring and fall.

Suzanne Miller, FLMC chief nursing officer, considers the grade “huge” for the local hospital.

“I mean all the initiatives that we put in place to keep our patients safe,” Miller said. “... I think it gives our community a sense of confidence in our facility and also pride that we are doing good things. And it just validates putting our patients first, which is our No. 1 priority.”

“It is a huge win that we get these grades,” Kalin added. “Not everybody gets the same grade and so for us getting that this year was like, ‘Hey, even though things have been crazy, we still put patient safety first,’ and it paid off in this. Suzanne mentioned all the different initiatives we’ve got. We’ve got falls teams, we’ve got our stroke team, just to reevaluate that we’re doing the right thing following protocol and everybody’s informed of that protocol, so we’re doing the same steps. I think that having those different teams in place makes people accountable and they want to take responsibility. So it’s kind of cool to see all of these different things pay off for an A grade.”

According to the Hospital Safety Score, a service provided by The Leapfrog Group, areas of improvement include surgical site infection after colon surgery, accidental cuts and tears, falls causing broken hips and specially trained physician care for ICU patients.

“We’ve got a lot of initiatives in place,” Miller said. “We promote a culture of safety. So within that, we’re very consumed with having things in place such as our safety bundles, our no-pass zone, our speak-up award. Each one of those entities is about doing the right thing for our patients.”