What is patient safety?
Six hospitals in Kentucky were given D’s or F’s in one nonprofit group’s biannual safety rankings, and their patients are more at risk of dying during their stay, according to the website.
The website, HospitalSafetyGrade.org by The Leapfrog Group, uses hospital infections, surgery problems, error-prevention practices, safety problems and metrics on doctors, nurses, and staff to determine its rankings. Leapfrog is an independent, organization that surveys more than 2,000 U.S. hospitals, which voluntarily participate. Performance measures from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services were also used.
The rankings were done so patients can “quickly assess the safety of their local hospital and choose the safest hospital to seek care,” according to the organization’s website. Consumers can compare hospitals and compare current rankings to previous ones.
D’s were given to University of Louisville Hospital, Taylor Regional Hospital in Campbellsville, Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Highlands Regional Medical Center in Prestonsburg and Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center.
Kentucky’s lone failing grade was Methodist Hospital of Henderson, which had below-average grades in 16 of the group’s 28 metrics. Just nine hospitals in the country received F’s.
Compared to A hospitals, patients’ risk of dying increases by 87.7 percent at C-graded hospitals and by 91.8 percent at D- or F-graded hospitals, according to the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality.
Only 6 percent of the hospitals graded received D’s and less than one percent had an F.
Baptist Health Lexington was one of 11 hospitals in the state to earn an A. It was the third straight time Baptist Health received an A, which it earned thanks to above-average marks in 22 of the website’s 28 metrics.
The other hospitals in Kentucky to receive A’s were Clark Regional Medical Center in Winchester; Georgetown Community Hospital; Harrison Memorial Hospital in Cynthiana; St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Edgewood, Florence and Ft. Thomas; Whitesburg ARH Hospital; and Louisville’s Norton Audubon, Norton Brownsboro and Norton Women’s & Children’s.
Kentucky ranks 33rd in the country in the percentage of A-graded hospitals, according to the Leapfrog website.
University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, which was ranked as the No. 1 regional facility in Kentucky by U.S. News and World Report last August, received a C. The hospital received below-average marks on four of the seven surgery problems. The problems included collapsed lungs, serious breathing problems, dangerous blood clots and death from serious treatable complications.
Lexington’s Saint Joseph Hospital received a B, while Saint Joseph East and University of Kentucky Good Samaritan both were given C grades.
Saint Joseph received high marks in most categories, but it was below average in five of the six staffing metrics. These included lower marks on the number of qualified nurses; the number of specially trained doctors for ICU patients; communication with doctors and nurses; and responsiveness.
Meanwhile, Saint Joseph East had many of the same issues. Plus it but did not score as well as Saint Joseph in several categories to fall a letter grade behind.
Good Samaritan, like Chandler Hospital, did not score well because of several surgery problems, including collapsed lungs, severe breathing problems, dangerous blood clots and deaths from serious treatable complications. Good Samaritan and Chandler were below average on scores for dangerous bedsores and patient falls and injuries.
According to Leapfrog, as many as 440,000 die each year from hospital errors, injuries, accidents and infections. One out of every 25 patients develops an infection while in the hospital.
If there are problems, Leapfrog suggests people immediately report the incident. It said patients should talk to a hospital employee who can investigate or resolve the issue, and if an answer is not received during the patient’s stay, to contact the hospital’s customer service, patient advocacy or patient and family relations department.