Great Plains Health first in Nebraska to receive Leapfrog Top Hospital Award

Mel McNea and Barb Petersen of Great Plains Health pose with their Top Hospital Award from Leapfrog. (Source: Holly Barraclough, KNOP TV)

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - A hospital in North Platte is the first hospital in Nebraska to receive the Leapfrog Top Rural Hospital award for outstanding quality and safety.

Great Plains Health was given the award this week and traveled to Washington D.C. to accept it.

In addition to being the only hospital in Nebraska to receive this award, they are one of 18 hospitals nation-wide to earn it.

Great Plains Health Chief Executive Officer, Mel McNea, said they are right up there with the large facilities.

"I think for us, when we went out to receive the award, it was humbling to be in the room with representatives from Johns Hopkins University, from some of the bigger Cleveland Clinic Healthcare organizations," said McNea, "While we were there, we actually received a report that really judged or graded us on a number of things that we do internally and it was nice to see that we're right up there with the best in the nation and that we are better than some of them in some cases so that was good."

To qualify for the Top Hospitals distinction, hospitals must rank top among peers in the 2019 Leapfrog Hospital Survey, which assesses hospital performance on the highest known standards for quality and patient safety, and achieve top performance in its category.

"Since 2014 we really put our focus on our quality and improving our outcomes for patients," said McNea, "Barb Petersen, our Vice President of Quality, has lead those efforts, along with her staff, and we put a huge focus on making sure that we’re communicating with our patients and creating a safe environment and this year, alone we’ve been able to reduce injury to patients by almost 60 to 70%."

About 2,100 hospitals were considered for the award and among those, Great Plains Health received a top rural distinction.

The Leapfrog Top Hospital award is widely acknowledged as one of the most competitive safety and quality honors American hospitals can receive.