50 Kentucky hospitals get semi-annual ratings on how well they protect patients from infections, injuries and other safety issues

One tab rating The Medical Center at Bowling Green, which got a C overall, breaks down how it did on infections. (For a larger version of the chart, click on the image.)

More Kentucky hospitals are doing better at protecting patients from infections, injuries and other in-hospital threats, according to the latest national rankings, on an A-to-F scale. The ratings improved slightly from the spring; two additional hospitals got As, and fewer got Cs and Ds.

However, two of the University of Kentucky‘s hospitals dropped to a D, as did Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital in Louisville, which is being renamed U of L Health – Mary & Elizabeth Hospital after its purchase by the University of Louisville.

Louisville’s Jewish Hospital, which will also get a U of L prefix as part of the university’s purchase of some KentuckyOneHealth units, got an F on patient safety in the latest rankings by the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit watchdog organization.

Other Kentucky hospitals with Ds were the Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center and Highlands Regional Medical Center in Prestonsburg.

Methodist Hospital of Henderson, which got an F in the spring, got a C, the most common grade for the 50 Kentucky hospitals rated. Most of Kentucky’s 125 hospitals were not rated, since rural hospitals with “critical access” status don’t have to report quality measures to the federal government.

Leapfrog bases its grades on data about “infections; surgery and safety problems; error-prevention practices; and metrics on doctors, nurses and staff to determine its rankings and grades twice a year,” the Lexington Herald-Leader notes. Leapfrog says its data come from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), its own surveys and other sources.

The Leapfrog site offers details on each of the measures under headings titled infections, problems with surgery, practices to prevent errors, safety problems, doctors, nurses & hospital staff. It also includes an easy-to-read, color-coded scale that indicates how the hospital is performing.

UK’s Albert B. Chandler Hospital and Good Samaritan Hospital got Ds this fall after Cs in the spring. “In other rankings, UK does very well,” the Herald-Leader notes. “Chandler Hospital was ranked as the No. 1 regional facility in Kentucky by U.S. News and World Report and has been for four years.

Dr. Mark Newman, UK’s executive vice president for health affairs, told the Herald-Leader, “Like many academic medical centers, UK HealthCare serves a disproportionate number of patients with complex medical needs, which is not accurately represented by Leapfrog. . . .The quality of care and safety of our patients is of utmost importance at UK HealthCare and we continue to invest in substantial resources to continually improve in these areas.”

Chandler Hospital’s rating cited surgery problems such as objects left in patients’ bodies; surgical wounds that split open; death from serious treatable complications; collapsed lungs; serious breathing problems; and dangerous blood clots. It also got lower marks for antibiotic-resistant infections and surgical-site infection after colon surgery. “Dangerous bedsores and patient falls/injuries also were issues,” the Herald-Leader notes. “Good Samaritan received below-average scores in many of the same areas.”

Jewish Hospital also had problems with infections, surgery, bedsores patient falls and injuries, and communication with patients.

On the positive side, two Kentucky hospitals earned As for the first time: Flaget Memorial Hospital near Bardstown and Jewish Hospital-Shelbyville. The other As went to Baptist Health LexingtonClark Regional Medical Center in Winchester, Georgetown Community Hospital, Cynthiana’s Harrison Memorial Hospital, Louisville’s four Norton Healthcare hospitals, and the St. Elizabeth Healthcare hospitals in Edgewood, Florence and Fort Thomas.

The most common grade was a C, given to 20 hospitals. The 10 with B grades are Owensboro Health, Glasgow’s T.J. Samson Community Hospital, the three CHI Saint Joseph Health hospitals in Lexington and London, Baptist Health Paducah and Mercy Health Lourdes in Paducah, and Whitesburg ARH Hospital.