Sun, May 26, 2024

Saving lives earns awards for CSRA hospital

Aiken Regional Medical Centers has been awarded four Certified Zero Harm Awards for 2023 by the South Carolina Hospital Association. These awards recognize a commitment to quality of care for hospitals which have successfully eliminated some of the most common medical errors in healthcare including surgical site infection (SSI) and central line bloodstream infection (CLABSI).

The awards for Aiken Regional are in the areas of:

  • SSI Abdominal Hysterectomy
  • CLABSI: Cardiac Unit
  • CLABSI: Acute Medical and Oncology Unit
  • CLABSI: Orthopedic and Stroke Unit


In a medical emergency, it’s good to know that you or your loved ones are in good hands. That isn’t always the case. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, which partnered with the Johns Hopkins Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, puts the number of deaths from medical mistakes at 160,000 annually. Additionally, Becker’s Healthcare Review which reports on hospitals and clinics across the country, says in the first six months of 2022, 598 medical malpractice deaths were reported in South Carolina and 589 in Georgia. Isn’t one too many?

“At Aiken Regional, patient safety is our top priority and the foundation of all that we do,” said Matt Merrifield, CEO of Aiken Regional Medical Centers. “Receiving these four awards echoes our team’s commitment to placing patient safety at the forefront, and we congratulate our team for receiving this achievement. We’re dedicated to continuing to highlight the importance of safety within our hospital and everyday practice.”

South Carolina’s Zero Harm Program was created by the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) in collaboration with The Duke Endowment and The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Health to support statewide efforts to create a culture of high reliability and reduce harm in our healthcare facilities. Now in its tenth year, the program currently receives ongoing support from BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and has expanded outside of its clinical focus to touch on other major priority areas like disparities and workplace violence.

“The Zero Harm program is a prime example of a successful partnership between the public and private sector that improves the quality of life in South Carolina,” said Karen Reynolds, Director of Innovation and Acceleration at SCHA. “As medical errors continue to be a major concern across the country, South Carolina has developed a blueprint for reducing avoidable harm in our healthcare facilities that other states can follow.”

The Certified Zero Harm Awards remain the program’s flagship effort. It is a unique statewide recognition, thanks to SCHA’s collaboration with the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control (DHEC). For each award, hospitals must eliminate or avoid specific preventable hospital-acquired infections over an extended period, and that data must be independently verified by DHEC. This unique third-party verification process with the state health department provides exceptional legitimacy to these patient safety awards and is a testament to the spirit of statewide collaboration.

“Zero patient harm is possible only if physicians, clinical and support staff members work together to support a culture of high reliability,” said Reynolds. “Zero Harm Award winners are an inspiration to all hospitals across the state striving to provide measurably safe care for every patient.”

Editor’s Note:
Mitzi Oxford is a veteran broadcaster and features writer who also worked at the same television station in Columbus, Georgia as Augusta’s Brad Means! If you have a South Carolina story idea for Mitzi, please email her at

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