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Medical watchdog group gives Central Georgia hospitals 'A' grades for patient safety

Twice a year, a national watchdog organization called The Leapfrog Group issues patient safety ratings.

MACON, Ga. — A national health-care analyst says Piedmont Macon does an excellent job of keeping patients safe.

Employees at the hospital say they believe the grade ultimately reflects how they treat their patients.

Mary McGehee has dedicated her nursing career to patients at Piedmont Macon North. 

"This year will be 30. I like advocating for my patients. That's my big love," said McGehee.

Hospital techs, secretaries, and nurses like her are just some of the people who helped Piedmont Macon and Piedmont Macon North earn an "A" in patient care for the fall grading period.

"It's great, because we have worked really hard to get where we are. We all feel like it's our personal business to take care of our patients. They are like our moms and dads," McGehee said.

Twice a year, a national watchdog organization called The Leapfrog Group issues patient safety ratings.

Chief Medical Officer of Piedmont Macon and Piedmont Macon North Doctor Gary Bernstein said they award letter grades based on how well hospitals prevent errors, accidents, injuries and infections.

"Preventing injuries and getting an 'A' grade isn't just the nurses and the doctors, it's everybody who works in the hospital, from the food services, from the folks who clean the rooms, and the patient-care areas, it's really a testament to a team effort," Bernstein said.

Piedmont Macon's Director of Patient Experience Patti Jones says Leapfrog pulls numbers based on reports Piedmont submitted to the federal government.

Jones said, "The sub-questions involve, 'How well did you explain?' and the patients ask, 'Did they explain in a way you understood?'"

McGehee said, "There's always a double-, triple-checking everything we do, and talking with the patient is a big way we do that, too. Teamwork makes the dream work."

The next Leapfrog grading period will be in the spring. However, the criteria is subject to change.

Fairview Park Hospital in Dublin and Perry Hospital join both Piedmont locations in earning "A" grades. 

The Medical Center, Atrium Health Navicent in Macon and Atrium Health Baldwin in Milledgeville, along with Dodge County Hospital, Houston Medical Center, and Taylor Memorial in Hawkinsville all earned "C" grades, according to Leapfrog's rating system.

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