Houlton Regional Hospital has been awarded a Top Rural Hospital award by the Leapfrog Group for the second-straight year. Accepting the award is Jana Fitzpatrick (left), quality information specialist at HRH, along with  Leah Binder, president and CEO of the Leapfrog Group. Credit: Photo courtesy of Jana Fitzpatrick

HOULTON, Maine – When it comes to providing outstanding care to its patients, the Houlton Regional Hospital is viewed as one of the best in the business.

For the second year in a row, the hospital has been named by the Leapfrog Group as one of the nation’s top rural hospitals.

The Houlton facility is one of only 13 around the country to be named a top rural hospital. The recognition honors the quality of patient care across many different areas. It’s an important milestone for the southern Aroostook hospital, said CEO Shawn Anderson.

“It’s not every day that rural hospitals gain recognition for the important work that they undertake each day,” Anderson said. “We are honored and humbled by this award.”  

The Leapfrog Group, a national watchdog organization, conducts a survey to assess hospitals’ performance and patient safety. In the survey process, hospitals must submit their actual data, which are tracked throughout the year, Anderson said. Leapfrog takes the information and determines which hospitals have achieved the top status.

The surveys measure a wide range of health care categories, with hospitals asked to provide data to back up their responses, said Jana Fitzpatrick, quality information specialist at the hospital.

“The goal is to provide transparency to health care consumers so that patients can make informed decisions,” Fitzpatrick said. “The survey is not the same every year, with new measures added. We have to report on things like maternal safety measures or medication safety.”

This is the second year in a row that Houlton Regional has received the Top Rural Hospital Award and third time overall, Anderson said. The facility previously earned the distinction back in 2015.

“Having received the Top Rural Hospital Award repetitively affirms the work that we take very seriously at HRH to ensure the highest levels of patient safety and quality,” he said. “The Leapfrog Group’s recognition of our work through their unbiased evaluation, just serves to give our medical staff and clinicians a wonderful and timely acknowledgement as they continue to deliver high-quality and safe care each day.”

More than 2,200 hospitals were considered for the award. Among those, Houlton Regional and 12 others were named Top Rural Hospitals, while 102 other hospitals were honored, including 32 Top General, 12 Top Children’s and 58 Top Teaching hospitals.