The LeapFrog Group, an independent national hospital watchdog organization, has given Central Texas Medical Center the highest possible grade for patient care, a rating given to only four other Austin-area hospitals.

“The LeapFrog Group’s annual hospital safety score that they do is the gold standard of hospital safety,” said Rachel Nelson, CTMC public relations and new media coordinator. “They kind of set the bar for safety in America’s hospitals.”

The scores take into account 28 publicly available measures of hospital safety and demonstrate a hospital’s ability to prevent harm to patients, according to a news release.

CTMC is the only hospital between San Antonio and Austin to receive an “A” grade, Nelson said. Of the 2,500 hospitals that received grades, 773 received an “A” grade.

In spring 2015, the San Marcos hospital received a “D” and in 2014 the hospital received a “D” in the fall and a “C” in the spring.

Nelson said previous year’s ratings provided incentive for the hospital to improve its score.

“I think after last year’s ratings we definitely wanted to improve that,” Nelson said. “Our staff has a commitment to patient safety and caring for them while they’re here. It was just really putting in work to make that improvement. It worked.”

This year the hospital ranked above average in preventing dangerous blood clots; accidental cuts and tears; death from treatable serious complications; and surgical wounds reopening after an operation. The hospital was slightly below average in preventing collapsed lungs and serious breathing problems in patients.

“CTMC’s 'A' grade is a powerful reminder of its commitment to putting patient safety above all else, and we are pleased to recognize the persistent efforts of their clinicians and staff to protect patients,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of the Leapfrog Group, in a news release. “Our families, neighbors, colleagues and friends deserve a hospital that will pull out all the stops to keep them safe, and we urge CTMC and all other 'A' hospitals to preserve and renew their commitment to safety year after year.”