New ratings show Inova Mount Vernon to be among safest hospitals in area

Inova Mount Vernon Hospital

Inova Mount Vernon Hospital is located at 2501 Parkers Lane.

Inova Mount Vernon Hospital is the safest hospital within 10 miles of the Richmond Highway corridor according to the results of a biannual grading by The Leapfrog Group, a national non-profit focused on improving the quality and safety of health care.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade — which scores hospitals on how safe they keep patients from errors, injuries, accidents and infections — assigns letter grades to approximately 2,500 acute-care hospitals throughout the United States. Results from spring 2018 show that Virginia was one of five states with the highest percentage of “A” hospitals. Besides Inova Mount Vernon, the Virginia Hospital Center-Arlington Health System, Inova Fair Oaks Hospital and Inova Loudoun Hospital were three Northern Virginia providers that received top marks from Leapfrog. The watchdog organization also commended Maryland and Washington, D.C. hospitals for showing significant improvement, noting that the nation’s capital has its first A-grade hospital (Sibley Memorial) since spring 2013.

For the eighth consecutive grading period, Inova Mount Vernon received an A-grade for patient safety, performing consistently “above average” in the areas of “Problems with Surgery,” “Practices to Prevent Errors,” “Safety Problems” and “Doctors, Nurses and Professional Staff.” The only area in which Inova Mount Vernon showed room for improvement was “Infections,” where it under-performed in preventing blood and urinary tract infections. The hospital performed above average, however, in preventing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infections. Full details on Inova Mount Vernon’s score are available here.

According to Don Brideau, M.D. — who has served as CEO of Inova Mount Vernon since last spring — the hospital recently has shown significant improvements in infection prevention, reducing healthcare-associated infections by between 30 to 50 percent over the past two years.

“We look at all processes on a regular basis, using Lean methodology for evaluating them and putting proper checks in place,” Brideau said Tuesday. Brideau said that hospital staff are trained to ask themselves important questions, like whether a central line or urinary catheter is truly necessary, and how soon it can be removed to avoid risk of infection.

Hand hygiene is another important focus area for infection prevention at the hospital. Besides regularly washing hands, hospital staff have a “foam-in/foam-out” rule, which has contributed to a greater than 95 percent hand hygiene success rate based on self-assessments, according to Brideau.

“We’re looking at safety not only from our patients’ standpoint but also our employees’,” he said, adding that ensuring employee engagement and contentment also correlates to better safety scores.

Patient-centered care and safety will remain the foremost priorities for Inova Mount Vernon, according to Brideau.

“We want to make sure people in the community know that we not only have an A-grade from Leapfrog, but that we’re a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) 5-star hospital,” said Brideau. “We want people to know what’s going on today at Inova Mount Vernon rather than what happened here five to ten years ago.”


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