NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — UPDATE: A fourth Northwest Arkansas hospital, Northwest Medical Center in Springdale, also received and “A” rating from the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade.

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — Three Northwest Arkansas hospitals have been awarded an “A” from the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, which measures patient safety.

Washington Regional Medical Center, Mercy Hospital Fort Smith and Mercy Hospital NWA all received the highest grade possible for the Spring 2023 grading period.

This is the third consecutive “A” grade for Washington Regional, the eighth for Mercy NWA and the fourteenth for Mercy Fort Smith.

National nonprofit watchdog Leapfrog Group assigns the grades twice a year using dozens of measures of publicly available hospital safety data. The group looks at how hospitals prevent medical errors and patient harm, as well as the ability of a hospital to keep its patients safe.

Grades are given on the traditional “A” through “F” scale to more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals.

A release from Mercy says that the high marks represent a consistent commitment to safety.

“Safe patient care is a team effort, and our co-workers at Mercy Arkansas hospitals are to be commended for their dedication and hard work year after year,” Ryan Gehrig, president of Mercy Hospitals Arkansas, said.

Gehrig says that the good grades are a reminder of the importance of healthcare workers.

“Maintaining an ‘A’ grade from Leapfrog means our quality and clinical teams are continuing to challenge each other to make health care better for every patient we provide care for. We are grateful to have these co-workers with us here at Mercy,” Gehrig said.

Washington Regional’s CEO expressed the same sentiment.

“The safety and wellbeing of our patients is always our top priority,” Washington Regional President and CEO Larry Shackelford said. “Achieving Leapfrog’s highest grade demonstrates our team members’ dedication to providing Northwest Arkansas with nationally recognized, high quality health care.”

Hospitals will be assigned another grade later this year for the fall grading period.