Local Hospitals’ Safety Report Card Could Save Your Life

When hospital care is required, you want the best for you and your loved ones to ensure the best outcome. And it’s simply not enough to have the best doctors or the most state-of-the-art facilities if the hospital does not prioritize patient safety. Hospital choice can be literally a life and death decision.

Hospital safety should be a top priority but nearly 500,000 patients die each year from preventable medical error making it the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer. The number of patient accidents and injuries, hospital errors, and in-hospital acquired infections that occur are important considerations when choosing a hospital. Hospitals have a duty to patients to do all they can to prevent these but unfortunately, not all hospitals are alike; fortunately for consumers, there is a way to determine which hospitals in your area have the highest safety ratings and provide the best care for patients.

Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is a non-profit organization that evaluates hospital quality and safety and publishes a nationwide hospital survey twice a year. The safety survey was developed as a tool to help consumers choose the best hospital.

Leapfrog started publishing hospital safety evaluations in 2012, and just released its Fall 2016 survey of 2,633 general acute-care hospitals nationwide. Leapfrog evaluates 30 performance measures and assigns a grade from “A” to “F” based on hospitals’ performance in patient safety measures.

Performance measures include evaluations in the following areas:

  • Hospital-acquired infections such as MRSA and C diff
  • Blood and urinary tract infections
  • Surgical site infections
  • Patients falls, injuries and accidents
  • Blood clots
  • Accidental cuts and tears, or surgery sites splitting open
  • Whether a hospital conducts employee and staff safety training and employs practices to prevent errors
  • Hand washing
  • Post-surgical problems like leaving an object in a patient’s body, or a collapsed lung
  • Death

Almost all hospital errors, injuries, accidents, and infections are preventable, but prevention requires consistent attention and dedication to prevent mistakes and catch errors before patients are compromised. Leapfrog emphasizes that hospitals receiving high grades for patient safety, have good leadership and excellent communication between hospital staff, patients and their families.

Of the 2,633 U. S. hospitals evaluated for the Fall 2016 survey, 844 hospitals earned “A’s”, 658 earned a “B” grade, “C’s” were given to 954 hospitals, 157 hospitals received a “D”, and 20 scored a failing grade of “F”.

Locally, 52 Kentucky hospitals were evaluated as part of the survey. Kentucky ranked 35th in the nation in hospital safety with only 12 hospitals in the Commonwealth achieving an “A” grade. We are happy to report, no Louisville hospitals received an “F” grade.

Norton Audubon Hospital, Baptist Health Louisville, Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital, and Baptist Hospital Northeast all earned “B” grades.

“C” grades were given to Norton Hospital, Clark Memorial Hospital, Floyd Memorial Hospital, Norton Brownsboro Hospital, and Jewish Hospital Shelbyville.

“D” grades fell to Jewish Hospital, University of Louisville Hospital, and Sts. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital.

The closest local hospital earning an “A” was King’s Daughters’ Hospital and Health Services in Madison, Indiana.

Many hospitals evaluated in the nationwide survey have drastically improved their patient safety ratings but not without effort and attention to improve patient safety measures. Leapfrog recommends the following to keep hospital safety a top priority:

  • Be proactive. Don’t be afraid to speak up immediately if you see an error or feel that something is wrong. Although healthcare providers try to do their best, they sometimes make mistakes. Don’t let your fear of offending someone by speaking up result in a deadly mistake.
  • Report incidents immediately. Don’t wait to say something. If you see something, say something immediately to your healthcare provider or someone else in the hospital that can address the problem.
  • Investigate whether the hospital has a system in place for reporting problems. If so, follow the established procedure for reporting any errors or problems that occur.
  • Follow up with the hospital after you report a problem to find out how it was handled, and what will be done differently in the future.

Open this link www.hospitalsafetygrade.org to find out the safety grades earned by hospitals in your area so you can make an informed choice about which hospitals will provide the best quality care for you and your loved ones.