The Leapfrog Group has named four MaineHealth hospitals — LincolnHealth, Pen Bay Medical Center, Waldo County General Hospital and Stephens Memorial Hospital — as Top Rural Hospitals 2020. Leapfrog’s Top Rural Hospital Awards recognize achievements in patient safety and quality.

“This award recognizes the commitment of everyone in our rural hospitals to deliver outstanding patient-centered health care every day,” said Dr. Mark Fourre, president of PBMC and WCGH. “What’s so impressive is that our care team members continue to do so even as we navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I also think that this award showcases the power of being a member of the MaineHealth system,” Fourre said. “Sharing best practices with each other made it possible for all four hospitals to win this award, and it contributes to our collective ability to deliver high-quality health care across our state.”

The Leapfrog Group, an independent national quality evaluator, considered more than 2,200 hospitals from across the country for a Top Hospital Award. Of them, 105 were selected as Top Hospitals. The Top Rural Hospital Award went to just 19 hospitals, four of which were with MaineHealth.

The quality of patient care across many areas of hospital performance is considered in establishing the qualifications for the Top Rural Hospital Award, including infection rates, practices for safer surgery, maternity care and the hospital’s capacity to prevent medication errors. The standards are defined in each year’s Leapfrog Top Hospital Methodology.

"The Top Hospitals designation is Leapfrog's most competitive and elite national award, and four MaineHealth hospitals earned Top Rural Hospital designations,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “This is an extraordinary feat in any year, but even more so in 2020 as hospitals have navigated the unprecedented pressure and strain of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Maine native, it means a great deal to me that my family and friends can depend on excellence from so many Maine hospitals. I personally congratulate the board, staff and clinicians whose efforts made this honor possible.”

To qualify for the Top Hospitals distinction, hospitals must rank top among peers on the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, which assesses hospital performance on the highest standards for quality and patient safety, and achieve top performance in their category. To see the full list of institutions honored as 2020 Top Hospitals, visit leapfroggroup.org/tophospitals.