Pensacola, FL - The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization committed to driving quality, safety, and transparency in the U.S. health care system, today released new Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades, which assign A, B, C, D and F letter grades to hospitals nationwide and is the gold standard measure of patient safety in the United States. Hospitals that earn top marks nationally in the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade have achieved the highest safety standards in the country. West Florida Healthcare was one of 823 hospitals nationwide to receive an “A” for its commitment to reducing errors, infections, and accidents that can harm patients.

West Florida Healthcare is proud to be the only hospital in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties to have earned an “A” in this elite national ratings program, recognizing their strong commitment to patient safety. To make this accomplishment even more impressive, this is the fourth consecutive time that West Florida Healthcare has earned an “A” rating, the only area hospital to have done so. As further evidence of their commitment to patient safety and quality care, West Florida Healthcare is also the only hospital in the area to have earned the “100 Top Hospitals in the Nation” by Truven Health Analytics for three years in a row.

To receive this “A” grade, West Florida Healthcare has remained focused on transforming the health care experience. The vision is for highly-competent professionals to work in a collaborative environment to provide patient and family-centered care using evidence-based clinical practice standards. This collaborative team of nurses, physicians, support staff, and volunteers are all committed to the patient and family-centered model of care which has resulted in consistently high patient experience scores. In addition, the West Florida Hospital culture of safety and safe practice is embedded throughout the entire organization.

Another important differentiator is the professional development support that West Florida Hospital provides for their nurses. For example, they have created a nursing structure which includes Shared Governance, a model that features unit-based and facility clinical practice councils. Examples of these councils include: the nurse quality council, the nurse executive council, the fall prevention committee, the nursing patient satisfaction committee, and the nursing peer review committee, all of which meet on a regular basis to discuss how to improve patient quality and patient satisfaction.

regular basis to discuss how to improve patient quality and patient satisfaction. By creating multidisciplinary teams, West Florida Healthcare has dedicated itself to serving as the quality leader in Northwest Florida by supporting the use of valid, reliable data to assure the delivery of optimal patient care to reduce medical errors. These multidisciplinary teams of physicians, nurses, clinicians, educators, and support staff who follow evidence-based care practices, process improvement techniques, and systems are able to enhance the patient’s quality of care.

“Receiving an “A” on hospital safety is a reflection of our dedication to providing evidence-based medicine that reduces variation in our delivery of care,” said Jeffrey Comitalo, M.D., Chief of Staff, West Florida Healthcare. “Empowering our clinical staff to have a voice in the design of our processes in a collaborative way has a direct impact on our operations, clinical practice, patient care outcomes, and patient experience.”

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is calculated by top patient safety experts, peer reviewed, fully transparent, and free to the public. A full description of the data and methodology used in determining grades is available online at Visitors to the website can also find videos, tips for patients, and a Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade mobile app for IOS and Android devices. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is designed to give consumers information they can use to protect themselves and their families when facing a hospital stay. Patients can also review their hospital’s past safety performance alongside its current grade on the Hospital Safety Grade site, allowing them to determine which local hospitals have the best track record in patient safety and which have demonstrated consistent improvement.

“As our mission states, above all else, West Florida Healthcare is committed to the care and improvement of human life, so we view this “A” rating as a result of our dedicated nurses, employees, physicians, and volunteers living out that mission every day,” said Carlton Ulmer, president and CEO of West Florida Healthcare. “In keeping with that mission, our team has created a special program called the C.A.R.E.S. Program, which focuses on quality, safety, and customer satisfaction. Through C.A.R.E.S., we emphasize communication, accountability, respect, excellence, and safety in all of our encounters with patients and family members.”

According to the study:

  • There were more than 206,000 avoidable in-hospital deaths in 2016.
  • Compared to an A hospital, your risk of dying in a hospital increases as the safety grade decreases:
    • B - 8.5%
    • C - 35.2%
    • D & F - 49.8%
  • 33,459 lives could be saved if B, C, D and F hospitals improved their patient safety record to that achieved by A hospitals.

“Our entire community can be proud of West Florida Healthcare’s “A” rating in patient safety by Leapfrog,” said Jim Cronley, Chairman of West Florida Healthcare’s Board of Trustees. “This “A” rating is a powerful reminder of West Florida Healthcare’s commitment to putting patient safety above all else.”

To see West Florida Healthcare’s full grade and to access consumer-friendly patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit or follow the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade on Twitter or Facebook. Consumers can also download the free Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade mobile app for Apple and Android devices.