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Hospital drops a grade on safety survey / June 17, 2013
Halifax Regional Hospital has slipped a notch in a national survey of hospital safety, earning a D in the spring report issued by the Leapfrog Group, a non-profit group that bills itself as an advocate for hospital quality and transparency.

In fall 2012, Halifax Regional scored a C on the survey, lumping it together with a number of nearby hospitals, including facilities in Oxford, N.C. and Henderson, N.C.

The Leapfrog survey, relying on federally-reported data and its own methodology, found below-average results by Halifax Regional in terms of protecting patients from falls and trauma and wounds splitting open after surgery. Halifax Regional provided better-than-average care in treating collapsed lungs due to surgery, and warding off blood clots after surgery, the group found.

On eight measures, each dealing with the hospital’s culture of care — criteria ranged from leadership structures to institutional emphasis on hard washing — HRHS did not report data for Leapfrog to make an evaluation.

Chris Lumsden, the hospital’s President and CEO, could not be reached Sunday for comment on the survey results.

But hospital officials, reacting to last year’s Leapfrog survey, downplayed its importance, noting that Halifax Regional does not participate directly with Leapfrog and arguing that the assessments are geared more toward large teaching hospitals. Leapfrog reviews a limited number of core standards, hospital personnel said, and hence does not offer a full picture of hospital quality.

To buttress its claim, HRHS pointed to its performance on 10 “domains of care” reviewed by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS. The hospital scored above the mean on all but one CMS area, which did not apply locally.

Two area hospitals — Community Memorial Healthcenter in South Hill and Person Memorial in Roxboro, N.C. — each earned As on the spring Leapfrog survey. It was the second consecutive top score for CMH in South Hill, which also received an A in the previous survey, released to the public in December 2012. Person Memorial raised its grade from a B in fall 2012 to an A in the latest survey.

Sentara Health System, which is proposing to acquire HRHS under a $116 million merger proposal, continued to perform well on the hospital safety survey. All six Sentara hospitals in the Hampton Roads area received As from Leapfrog, as did Sentara’s hospital in Harrisonburg, Rockingham Memorial Hospital. Another Sentara hospital in the region, Martha Jefferson in Charlottesville, received a B score.

Elsewhere in the Southside-central Virginia region, Danville Regional Medical Center did not earn a grade, Centra Lynchburg General Hospital received a C, and Centra Southside Community Hospital in Farmville received a D.

Full results from the survey are available at

Nationwide, of the 2,514 hospitals that Leapfrog rated, roughly a third earned A grades. Almost 40 percent received Cs, while only 148 — less than 6 percent – received D’s. Only 16 hospitals earned Fs on the survey.

Virginia was fourth-best in the nation in the share of hospitals earning an A. The state with the largest share of A-rated hospitals was Maine.

“The Hospital Safety Score grades hospitals on how safe they are for patients,” states Leapfrog on its website. “Each A, B, C, D, or F score assigned to a hospital comes from expert analysis of infections, injuries and medical and medication errors that frequently cause harm or death during a hospital stay.”

The Leapfrog Group was founded in November 2000 with support from the Business Roundtable and national funders and counts among its researchers experts in the medical field from Harvard, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, University of Michigan and other top medical schools.

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Should be obvious that affiliation with Sentara will pull up HRHS scores.

"Danville Regional Medical Center did not earn a grade"

That quite frankly scares hell out of me. That was a good hospital until the Gang of Four sold it out from under the community. As long as it's under aegis of LifePoint I see no hope for that hospital to ever rise above mediocre again. I can guarantee the movers and shakers who engineered that sale do not use DRMC for their healthcare.

For that matter, neither will I. My experience there in 2009 convinced me. What should have been a routine surgery at DRMC ended up taking Duke Hospital 13 days to straighten out.


I' m not surprised. They are messing up all the time. That's why I tell people to go to lynchburg. They have a better chance at getting actual care there. Halifax cuts too many corners to save them money but still charge tooo much at least that is my opinion.

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