An "A"-Worthy Honor

SBMC has received its seventeenth “A” rating in a row for patient safety and quality.


Twice each year, in the spring and in the fall, The Leapfrog Group releases its scores for hospitals across the country for various measures. And for spring 2020, Saint Barnabas Medical Center (SBMC) has received its seventeenth “A” rating in a row for patient safety and quality. This makes the Medical Center the only facility in the tri-state area and one of only 32 in the country to earn an “A” grade every year since Leapfrog began these surveys.

“It’s the continuous and intentional focus of everyone that works at our Medical Center that we create and support an environment that is safe, provides a quality outcome and a great experience for our patients and their families,” says Stephen P. Zieniewicz, FACHE, president and chief executive officer of SBMC. “This is what helps us maintain and achieve this recognition.”

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade awards scores to more than 2,600 hospitals in the U.S. across 28 measures of data. And as with many of its other measures, safety and quality is always of paramount importance at SBMC.

“We have a daily safety briefing seven days a week where approximately 40 key managers of the organization participate and discuss any safety issues in the past 24 hours or if they anticipate any in the next 24 hours,” says Zieniewicz. “The good news is everyone is there who can immediately speak to resolve or support a department so we avoid a particular safety issue.”

Additionally, each department has a safety coach who does rounds throughout their areas, and there are also monthly department meetings where managers highlight specific safety-related metrics—such as the number of UTI, blood stream and catheter infections—that have achieved continuous successes.

So what makes SBMC stand out against its competitors in the safety and quality category specifically?

“As nurses, we have administrative support at the highest level,” says Maggie Lundberg, vice president and chief nursing officer at SBMC. “The C-suite team is totally behind what we need to do and what we need for the patients. It’s always patients first.” This also includes having the resources needed to provide nursing staff, the hospital’s largest workforce, with “onboarding and education to keep their skills and competence up.”

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