AUGUSTA — Maine Medical Center in Portland got a C grade in the latest report from an independent rating agency for hospital safety.

Eleven hospitals in Maine, including York Hospital, Inland Hospital in Waterville and Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, received an A, the best rating. In southern Maine, Mercy Hospital in Portland and SMHC Sanford Medical Center each got a B.

The grades, on the The Leapfrog Group’s rating site, were announced this week by the Maine Health Management Coalition.

The scores focus on hospital errors, injuries and infections. The time period evaluated varies by category, with some data covering July 2010 to June 2012, some from January 2013 to June 2014 and some spanning April 2013 to March 2014.

Susan Pierter, a spokeswoman for Maine Medical Center, said the hospital has been working hard to reduce infections and has recently had a marked decrease in bloodstream infections and infections caused by catheters.

The improvements were recorded this year, she said, and aren’t reflected in The Leapfrog Group’s most recent ratings.

“We’ve made a lot of progress and raised a lot of awareness,” Pierter said Friday night.

Letter grades given to more than 2,500 general hospitals in the U.S. were released by Leapfrog, which calls itself “an independent nonprofit organization representing employers and purchasers of health care.”

MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta continues to get a C grade from the rating agency, but the hospital’s chief medical officer says those ratings have yet to reflect fully the safety experience at the new hospital.

MaineGeneral combined inpatient services in Waterville and Augusta into a newly built hospital that opened Nov. 9, 2013, in Augusta.

“None of the metric periods are all the new hospital,” said Dr. Stephen Diaz on Wednesday. “We can keep working (on improvement), and in two years it will be recognized.”

MaineGeneral Medical Center has received a C from the group since the fall of 2013, dropping from a B in both fall 2012 and spring 2013. It received an A in fall 2012.

“Hospitals must consistently demonstrate their capability to prevent harm in order to earn the trust of their patients,” said Andy Webber, CEO of the Maine Health Management Coalition in a news release about the scores.

Other organizations rate hospital performance as well, including The Joint Commission, a national accrediting body, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which offers “Hospital Compare,” allowing consumers to directly compare hospital performance in specific areas.

Diaz said The Joint Commission recognized MaineGeneral recently as a top performer for work on the hospital’s inpatient side.

MaineGeneral serves a large population. For the month of March, for instance, it reported providing 38,222 services to inpatients and 118,359 services to outpatients.

Those services include doctor visits, laboratory draws, imaging tests and other procedures.

In The Leapfrog Group ratings, MaineGeneral received high scores – represented by an arrow in a green field – for all categories of “staff follows steps to make surgery safer” and generally poor scores – four out of five arrows in the red zone – in the area of “safety problems with surgery.”

Mixed scores were in the “infections and safety problems” area.

“We’re working very hard, and when they start including measurements (from the new hospital), you’ll see improvement,” Diaz said.

Press Herald Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy contributed to this report.

Betty Adams can be reached at 621-5631 or at:

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