New Jersey took the No. 1 spot in the country in hospital safety, according to the latest national report.

The Leapfrog Group’s Hospital Safety Grades report showed New Jersey had the highest percentage of hospitals with A grades in the country, including a majority of providers based in South Jersey.

“It really takes an ‘all-in’ approach to move the needle on health care quality,” Cathy Bennett, New Jersey Hospital Association president and CEO, said in a statement. “I would match New Jersey’s physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, support staff and hospital leaders with anyone, anywhere.”

About 56 percent of state acute-care hospitals that participated received the highest grade of A in the fall report, up from 33 percent in the spring report. Sixty-seven hospitals were graded. New Jersey ranked 17th in the spring report.

Shore Medical Center in Somers Point received its ninth consecutive A grade from the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit patient-advocacy organization.

The hospital excelled in surgical safety outcomes, low infection rates and the quality of its staff.

“From physicians and nurses to our environmental services staff and volunteers, every single member of our team is committed to maintaining the highest standards of safety when it comes to our patients,” Valerie DeJoseph, administrative director of quality and regulatory at Shore, said in a statement.

“Our ninth consecutive ‘A’ grade in Leapfrog’s Hospital Safety Grade perfectly illustrates that commitment.”

The Leapfrog Group assessed more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals on preventable errors and infections in hospitals. The organization updates the report twice a year by using publicly available hospital safety data to assign hospitals A, B, C, D or F grades.

Other South Jersey hospitals that also received A grades included AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City and Mainland campuses, and Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin.

Cape Regional Medical Center maintained its B grade and did well in preventing problems with surgery, practices to prevent errors and staff communication, but the report indicated improvement was needed to prevent more infections.

Inspira Medical Center Vineland received a B grade this fall, down from its A grade in the spring, and did well in surgical outcomes, staffing and leadership, infection prevention and practices to prevent errors.

The report indicated improvement was needed in some surgical safety outcomes.

“We encourage all hospitals to use the survey to improve their performance,” Linda Schwimmer, president and CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, said in a statement. “Our experience shows that hospitals committed to creating a culture of safety and quality perform well.”

For more on the state rankings and hospital grades, see hospitalsafetygrade.org

Contact: 609-272-7022 NLeonard@pressofac.com Twitter @ACPressNLeonard

Previously interned and reported for Boston.com, The Asbury Park Press, The Boston Globe

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