The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit health care ratings organization, today released new Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades. The Safety Grade assigns letter grades of A, B, C, D and F to hospitals nationwide based on their performance in preventing medical errors, infections and other harms. Watauga Medical Center was one of 832 awarded an “A” for its commitment to keeping patients safe and meeting the highest safety standards in the U.S.

“I am proud that Watauga Medical Center is one of 43 hospitals in NC to receive an “A” grade. 2,632 hospitals across the country were rated, and to be given the highest rating is a real achievement,” said Chuck Mantooth, CEO and President of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, “Our community deserves to know that their local hospital embraces a culture of safety. Transparency around this issue is very important because it allows patients to make informed choices about where to receive their care.”

licensure-logo-fall-2017“When we talk about patient safety, we’re really talking about how successful we are at protecting patients from errors, injuries, accidents and infections,” Mantooth continued, “I want to emphasize that our staff has done an exceptional job at instituting protocols and developing standards which reduce these types of errors. They understand that safety is a fundamental and essential attribute of quality healthcare. Without safety there simply cannot be high quality.”

Developed under the guidance of a Blue Ribbon National Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 27 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign A, B, C, D and F grades to more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals twice per year. It is calculated by top patient safety experts, peer reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public.

“It takes consistent, unwavering dedication to patients to achieve the highest standards of patient safety. An ‘A’ Safety Grade recognizes hospitals for this accomplishment,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “We congratulate the clinicians, Board, management and staff of Watauga Medical Center for showing the country what it means to put patient safety first.”

To see Watauga Medical Center’s full grade, and to access patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit

About The Leapfrog Group

Founded in 2000 by large employers and other purchasers, The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for giant leaps forward in the quality and safety of American health care. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey collects and transparently reports hospital performance, empowering purchasers to find the highest-value care and giving consumers the lifesaving information they need to make informed decisions. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, Leapfrog’s other main initiative, assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.

About Watauga Medical Center

Watauga Medical Center is licensed as a 117-bed regional referral medical complex, offering both primary and secondary acute and specialty care. The Medical Center delivers revolutionary patient-focused care for heart disease, cancer, orthopaedics, rehabilitation, obstetrics, emergency medicine, women’s health and more.

The Medical Center received certification by The Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center in 2011.  The Cancer Center is recognized as an approved community cancer care center by the American College of Surgeon’s Committee on Cancer.