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Hospitals around the area receive patient safety grades ranging from A to D

Awards & Recognition

Hospitals in Camarillo, Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks scored A grades in a patient safety assessment released this month while marks at other local facilities fell as low as the D given to Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura.

The grades were issued by the nonprofit Leapfrog group that rates hospitals on 28 measures, rating from antibiotic-resistant infections and blood clots during surgery to bed sores and nurse staffing.

Adventist Health Simi Valley, St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo and Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks received Leapfrog's top grade.

Thakkar"What an A means is that we're a safe place for patients to receive care," said Jennifer Swenson, CEO of an Adventist Health Simi Valley site that scored its first A in a grading program started in 2012 — an achievement Swenson described as a benchmark for an organization that once admittedly struggled with its reputation. "We're not the same organization that we used to be."

St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard received a B grade. Ventura County Medical Center, a publicly funded hospital in Ventura, scored a C. Nonprofit Community Memorial's grade fell from a C in fall of 2018 to a D.

“We do not feel that the criteria used by Leapfrog is evidenced-based, and we did not respond to this year’s survey," said Community Memorial spokesman Mike Ellingson. A Ventura County Medical Center official said the county hospital also did not complete Leapfrog's survey but will in the future.

Leapfrog primarily uses data from the U.S. Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services and its own surveys. When hospitals don't respond to surveys, Leapfrog instead uses what it calls secondary data from Medicare and other sources. If there isn't enough available data, a grade is not issued.

The Leapfrog group is one of several organizations that assess safety performance with some observers noting a hospital can score poorly in one group's rating and excel in another.

"They all measure something different and they all use different methodology," said Jan Emerson-Shea, spokeswoman for the California Hospital Association. "... It often causes more confusion for consumers than is helpful."

The two hospitals with the lowest scores in the area — Ventura County Medical Center and Community Memorial — scored the best marks in the county in a federal assessment on infections, bed sores and other conditions acquired after a patient is admitted to a hospital. Los Robles received an A from Leapfrog but has been penalized two years in a row for its scores on the federal assessment for hospital acquired conditions.

New research released by Leapfrog and conducted by the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality suggests patients at hospitals graded with Ds or Fs faced a 92% greater risk of an avoidable death when compared to hospitals rated with As.

Hospitals with Cs are 88% more likely to have preventable deaths, the study said.

Leapfrog safety grades

  • Adventist Health Simi Valley — A
  • Los Robles Regional Medical Center — A
  • St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital — A
  • St. John's Regional Medical Center — B
  • Ventura County Medical Center — C
  • Community Memorial Hospital — D

Many hospital leaders cite the grades as a tool consumers can use in deciding their care.

"These publicly reported ratings empower patients and allow them to make more informed decisions," said Dr. Gene Keller of Dignity Health Central Coast in a statement that touted the A received by St. John's Pleasant Valley.

The Camarillo hospital's top grade is its second consecutive A. Los Robles has scored four As in the last five grading periods.

When Swenson was hired as CEO in 2015, the hospital not only started participating in the Leapfrog programs but made earning an A one of its goals.

"I know what the reputation was. Our community did not think we were a quality organization," said Swenson who was controller at the Simi hospital in the early 2000s. She described the A grade as an achievement that reflects years of a hospital-wide effort focused on safety and care.

"If you ask our patients today, they'll tell you we are a quality organization," she said.

Tom Kisken covers health care and other news for the Ventura County Star. Reach him at or 805-437-0255.