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NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Seven New Jersey hospitals are among the 115 nationwide that have been dubbed “Top Hospitals” by a non-profit dedicated to pushing for safer and better hospitals.

The lists were announced as the highest-performing institutions in the Leapfrog Hospital Survey.

Leapfrog was formed to push for improvements in health care, and to share performance records with employers and insurers.

Unlike other hospital rating systems, it does not take into account patient satisfaction or professional reputation.

Nor does it focus on the strength of various specialities treated there.

Instead, it focuses on the day-to-day regimens that produce safe, effective care.

Hospitals were chosen in four different categories: general hospitals, teaching hospitals, children’s hospitals, and rural hospitals.

Four N.J. hospitals made the list of “Top General Hospitals”: Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, Inspira Medical Center in Woodbury, Kennedy University Hospital in Stratford, and Shore Medical Center in Somers Point.


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Another three made the exclusive list of “Top Teaching Hospitals”: Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, and Virtua Hospital in Voorhees.

New Jersey had no representatives in the list for children’s or rural hospitals.

In order to make the cut, hospitals had to first do well in two other major rankings — the Leapfrog evaluation of hospital safety, and the federal government’s “star” ratings.

Beyond that benchmark, a hospital also had to demonstrate excellence in several additional areas:

•It had to use a computerized physician order entry system to help avoid medication errors, which lead to an estimated 7,000 avoidable deaths nationwide.

•It had to adhere to high staffing levels for its ICU. At times when a physician couldn’t be there, an on-call physician had to return pages within 5 minutes.

•It had to meet or exceed the Medicare’s average outcome for treating heart attacks, heart failure, and pneumonia.

•Finally, it had to abide by four promises should it commit what Leapfrog calls a “Never Event” — a mistake that should never happen: Apologize to the family, waive all costs of treatment, report the incident to regulators, and figure out the root cause of the error.

“‘Never Events’ hardly ever happen, luckily, particularly at the better hospitals. But when they do happen, doing that root cause analysis is essential,” said Linda Schwimmer, president of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, which serves as the state’s representative on for the Leapfrog Group.

Apologizing for an error has been shown to enhance a hospital or health care provider’s willingness to take ownership of a mistake, said Schwimmer.

“If they don’t recognize that they’ve made a mistake and figure out how to fix that mistake, they’re going to make that mistake again,” she said.


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