Natividad gets ‘A’ in national hospital rankings, capping rebound

  • April 26, 2016

By Jim Johnson, Monterey Herald

SALINAS, CA (April 26, 2016) – A year and a half after receiving the last of three straight failing safety grades from a national hospital industry watchdog, Natividad Medical Center is touting an “A” from The Leapfrog Group.

In the spring version of its twice-annual survey of more than 2,500 hospitals across the nation, the organization gave Monterey County-owned Natividad one of 798 “A” rankings based on measurements and public reporting of hospital performance in areas such as infections, surgery problems, error avoidance practices, safety issues and medical staff.

In a statement, Natividad CEO Dr. Gary Gray lauded the top ranking, which capped the hospital’s rise from three consecutive “F” ratings from the organization from 2013-14.

“We are extremely pleased to receive the top rating from The Leapfrog Group,” Gray said. “We believe in transparency with this data and sharing with the community the constant improvements we are making in providing high-quality patient care with high patient satisfaction.”

Gray said Natividad has a culture of constant improvement. He noted milestone achievements, including the Level II trauma center designation, selection as a high-performing maternity care hospital by the California Healthcare Foundation and designation as a Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care and Bariatric Surgery by Anthem Blue Cross.

But he also acknowledged the hospital began participating in the Leapfrog survey, which it had declined to do in previous years, and used its quality improvement recommendations as a road map.

“That probably resulted in the largest jump,” Gray said. “We’ve been working really hard on process and transparency. The goal is to continue improvements regardless of the letter grade.”

In fall 2014, then-Chief Medical Officer Gray suggested the organization’s grades were flawed and could have been influenced by outdated data and whether the hospital responded to the semi-annual survey.

Since receiving its most recent “F” grade, Natividad improved to a “C” last spring and a “B” last fall.

Among other local hospitals, Salinas Valley Memorial also received an “A” grade, its third straight, and Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula was given a “B.”

Jim Johnson can be reached at 831-726-4348.