ELLSWORTH — Maine Coast Memorial Hospital recently received high marks from two national organizations.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services gave the Ellsworth hospital its highest possible rating of five stars for overall quality. The Leapfrog Group, meanwhile, awarded Maine Coast an “A” safety grade.
“We are extremely proud of these achievements,” said Ardelle Bigos, Maine Coast Memorial Hospital’s chief nursing officer. “Our providers, nurses and staff all work hard every day to ensure patient safety is a priority and I am thrilled that they are being recognized for providing excellent care to our community.”
Maine Coast was one of only five hospitals in Maine to earn a five-star hospital quality rating for the period. In a news release, the hospital explained that “the overall rating summarizes performance on many quality measures reflecting common conditions that hospitals treat, such as heart attacks or pneumonia.”
While Maine Coast fared well among the thousands of hospitals that were looked at nationwide, others did not. The government agency said 751 hospitals across the country will be fined for their high rates of injuries and infections.
Four hospitals in Maine are being fined, including Cary Medical Center in Caribou, Southern Maine Health Care in Biddeford, York Hospital and Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. Central Maine is the only hospital to make the list of those being fined for a second consecutive year.
The fine comes in the form of a 1 percent reduction in the Medicare payments that a hospital receives. The Lewiston Sun Journal said that reduction “can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on how many Medicare patients that hospital sees.”
The Kaiser Family Foundation reported that over the first five years of the program (which was instituted as part of the Affordable Care Act), financial penalties to hospitals nationwide totaled approximately $1.9 billion.
The goal of the penalties is to encourage hospitals to address the factors that prompted them in the first place.
The Leapfrog Group, meanwhile, gave Maine Coast an “A” grade for safety. The national organization gives letter grades of A through F to hospitals “based on their performance in preventing medical errors, infections and other harms,” Maine Coast reported in the news release.
Founded in 2000, Leapfrog says its grades are “helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.”
“It takes consistent, unwavering dedication to patients to achieve the highest standards of patient safety, and an ‘A’ safety grade recognizes hospitals for this accomplishment,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “We congratulate the clinicians, Board, management and staff of MCMH for showing the country what it means to put patient safety first.”