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Kaweah Health nationally recognized with third consecutive ‘A’ in hospital safety

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VISALIA – Kaweah Health Medical Center has received its third consecutive “A,” the top Hospital Safety Grade for fall 2022 given by the Leapfrog Group, an independent national watchdog organization. The score, released today, is a national distinction recognizing Kaweah Health’s achievements in protecting patients from preventable harm and error in the hospital.

“Safety is our top priority and this ‘A’ recognizes that. While we are proud of this honor, our goal will always be to continue improving for our patients,” said Gary Herbst, Chief Executive Officer of Kaweah Health. “To be named among some of the best hospitals in the nation is an honor and reflects the commitment our staff and physicians have for the care and well-being of our community.”

The Leapfrog Group assigns an “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” or “F” grade to 3,000 general hospitals across the country based on more than 30 national performance measures reflecting errors, accidents, injuries, and infections, as well as systems hospitals have in place to prevent harm. Last Spring, Kaweah Health received its second consecutive “A” safety score.

Kaweah Health is among the 30 percent of general acute care hospitals graded in the U.S. that earned an “A” in Leapfrog’s bi-annual grading. Twenty-eight percent received a “B,” 36 percent received a “C,” 6 percent received a “D,” and 1 percent received an “F.” The safety grades are calculated by top patient safety experts, peer-reviewed, fully transparent, and free to the public at They are updated every six months, once in the fall and once in the spring.

“We salute hospitals for this milestone and encourage them to accelerate their hard work saving patient lives,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “For a long time, the health care community tried to improve safety, but progress stalled. The big difference over this decade is that for the first time, we publicly reported each hospital's record on patient safety, and that galvanized the kind of change we all hoped for. It's not enough change, but we are on the right track."

Overall, Kaweah Health improved and sustained an A standing by:

• Reducing its score in all five Healthcare Acquired Infections included in the grade calculation. Those include Clostridium difficile (C. diff), along with infection in the blood, infection in the urinary tract, MRSA, and surgical site infection after colon surgery.

• Continued strong execution of seven organizational safe practices including, a comprehensive hand hygiene program, safety culture measurement and improvement, bar code medication administration, ICU physician staffing, computerized provider order entry, etc.

• Having better than national rates in post-operative complications and healthcare acquired conditions.

• Improvements in four of five patient experience measures (doctor and nurse communication about medicines and discharge information). Three of the five measures exceed the national average.

Sandra Volchko, Kaweah Health’s Director of Quality & Patient Safety said the hospital is always evaluating best practices and implementing strategies to achieve the highest quality of care for patients. Those include efforts from the entire team, including everyone from doctors to nurses to pharmacists managing medications to housekeepers and facility staff working to keep the hospital clean and safe to prevent injuries and infections.

“It’s up to us to have processes in place, and we do, to make sure that when patients come into the hospital they don’t leave with something such as an infection or injury. We wouldn’t be an ‘A’ without those,” Volchko said.

Kaweah Health is a publicly-owned community healthcare organization that provides comprehensive health services to the greater Visalia region and Tulare County. With more than 5,000 employees and 700 medical staff, Kaweah Health is committed to meeting the community’s health needs through state-of-the-art medicine, high-quality preventive services and specialized health centers and clinics. For more information, visit or follow Kaweah Health on Twitter and Facebook.


About The Leapfrog Group
Founded in 2000 by large employers and other purchasers, The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for giant leaps forward for patient safety. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey and new Leapfrog Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) Survey collect and transparently report hospital and ASC performance, empowering purchasers to find the highest-value care and giving consumers the lifesaving information they need to make informed decisions. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, Leapfrog's other main initiative, assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.