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St. John’s Gains Ground as Premier Healthcare Facility

St. John’s Episcopal is on a roll. The hospital is steadfastly gaining ground as a recognized premier health faciltity. A recent upgrade by the Leapfrog Safety Grade adds to the hospital’s recent achievements which include a Gold Plus with Elite Status for stroke care from the American Heart Association; recertification for stroke care from the Joint Commission; Planetree International Silver Certification for committment to person-centered care and special designation by the World Health Organization and UNICEF as a baby-friendly organization.   And according to EHS Vice President and Chief Quality Officer Karen Gleason, though St. John’s is sometimes bemoaned as the only hospital on the peninsula, “where your hospital stands, where you live will not define the healthcare that you receive.”

St. John’s is no longer an “F” rated hospital when it comes to safety. On Wednesday, November 16, Leapfrog Group released its Fall 2022 hospital safety grades, in which bi-annually, hospitals are assigned a grade-rating of “A” through “F” on how safe they are for their patients. The grade is based on 28 criteria, including rates of preventable errors, injuries and infections, and whether hospitals have systems in place to prevent them. New York State ranked 39th in nationwide hospital safety, up from 44th in the Spring. And St. John’s received a grade of “C,” a major leap from its Spring 2019 grade of “F.”

Gleason explained that St. John’s “C” grade was mostly based on “lag” data. “Fifty percent of that current grade is from during the pandemic period from about 2020, and some of the information is even prior to that. So, you do have some current state data as well as lag data. Though we volunteer, and respectfully appreciate and support Leaf Frog’s mission to improve hospital safety across the U.S., these grades do not always accurately show the current state or complete view of overall quality and safety within healthcare organizations.

“At EHS, we have seen an improvement in all of our patient safety initiatives. We wouldn’t have been able to drive the dial forward without that. It’s not just about the letter, but what is behind it. For example, making sure that we’re protecting our patients from falls and acquiring in-hospital infections. These are things that we are doing each and every day and can never take our finger off the pulse. No organization can, and it’s about striving to continually do that. Recently, we were even validated for our successful high standards for hospital safety with our Joint Commission reaccreditation. This commission comes in and looks at everything—from hospital-acquired infections to falls, and they have recognized that we are meeting national standards for quality and patient safety. This is a critical message that Rockaway needs to be reassured about.” Gleason said.

The Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit organization created in 1951 that accredits more than 20,000 U.S. health care programs and organizations with the mission to ensure quality healthcare for patients, prevent harm, and improve patient advocacy. About 70 to 80% of TJC functions directly address the issue of patient safety.

EHS also received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines—Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award for the second year in a row. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Gleason said, “This award shows that not only when patients come through our doors, they’re getting the best and latest care, but also with their transition from hospital to home—our stroke care transition team makes sure they are connected to crucial services within the community. So, it’s not that we just take care of our patients when they’re in the walls of our hospital, but that we continue to partner with our patients and their families when they are back out into the community, which is critical for improved healthcare outcomes.

“For our all-encompassing pa­tient care, our population health team was recognized by the He­althcare Association of New York State (HANYS), a statewide voice for NY’s hospitals and health systems, advocating to ensure that every New Yorker has access to affordable, high-quality care. So, being recognized by HANYS is a great boost to our dedication to providing the best healthcare for EHS’ community here in Rockaway and beyond.”

With all the strides EHS—from the executive team to the frontline workers—is making to improve healthcare and outcomes, Gleason hopes to debunk previous perceptions or even myths said about St. John’s with it being the only hospital on the peninsula.

“It is critical that people understand that it’s not about being the only hospital. It is about being a provider in an organization of choice. Our hospital is striving towards high-quality, safe healthcare that will improve the healthcare outcomes of the community. I’m so proud to be a member of this organization that has a vision, a commitment, a drive to work collaboratively together with our patients, their families and the community at large—to drive improvement of healthcare outcomes, raising the bar every day on the care we provide. That’s what is critical to this organization’s success, from the CEO to the frontline team members, we are all aligned with that mission.”

For more info about EHS, including recent initiatives, visit: https://ehs.org/

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