LONG BEACH - The city's two largest healthcare providers - Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and St. Mary Medical Center - have been awarded "A" ratings for patient safety.

The Hospital Safety Score was tabulated by the Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit run by employers and large purchasers of health benefits.

Memorial's sister hospitals - part of MemorialCare Health System hospitals - were also recipients of the high scores, including Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente.

"Hospitals ... that earn an A have demonstrated their commitment to their patients and their community," said Leapfrog Group president Leah Binder.

MemorialCare officials said the medical system is recognized as an innovator in health care delivery.

"Our 13,000 physicians, nurses, clinical and support staff are dedicated to implementing evidence-based, best practice medicine at all our medical centers to ensure the communities we serve receive comprehensive, high quality care," said Barry Arbuckle, MemorialCare president and chief executive officer, in a written statement.

St. Mary's officials credited the hospital's success to its quality programs and teams, including a Rapid Response Team, which recognizes acute changes and takes immediate action; the Intensive Care Unit team, which prevents adverse events including ventilator-associated pneumonia and central line infections; and the Red Team, a hospital task force that reviews adverse events that have occurred at other hospitals in order to test St. Mary's safety and compliance processes.

"These programs, together with a dedicated and professional team, have helped us to improve quality and patient safety year after year," said Ardel Avelino, St. Mary's administrative director of quality.

"I couldn't be more proud of our employees, our medical staff, our leadership team and our community board," St. Mary's president and chief executive officer Thomas Salerno said in a prepared statement, "and I'm appreciative of the incredible support from Dignity Health's patient safety experts."

To view the scores as they compare nationally and locally, visit the Hospital Safety Scores website at www.hospitalsafetyscore.org.

joe.segura@presstelegram.com

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