Most Ky. hospitals in patient-safety survey for national nonprofit’s twice-a-year report card again get grade of C; fewer got As

Screenshot of Leapfrog page for Harrison Memorial Hospital in Cynthiana, which moved to a C from an A, shows detail for infection issues and tabs for other issues. For a larger version, click on it.

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
A nonprofit group that grades hospitals for patient safety gave fewer As in Kentucky than the last time, and again gave Cs to most of the 50 Kentucky hospitals that it evaluates.
The Leapfrog Group, based in Washington, D.C., rated more than 2,700 general acute-care hospitals. Most of Kentucky’s 126 hospitals were not rated, but those that were have most of the hospital beds in the state.
The group does not grade small hospitals with “critical access” status because they don’t have to report quality measures to the federal government, nor does it grade specialty hospitals, government hospitals, or hospitals that don’t have enough publicly reported data.
Leapfrog gave As to 12 Kentucky hospitals, or about 24 percent of those it graded, down from about 36% on the last report. Kentucky ranked 33rd in A grades, down from 21st in the last report, issued in fall 2020. Leapfrog gave Bs to 12 hospitals, Cs to 24, and Ds to two.

The twice-yearly grades are based on 27 performance measures of patient safety that indicate how well hospitals protect patients from errors, injuries, accidents and infections. The report uses data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Leapfrog’s own survey, and other supplemental data sources. Hospitals are only graded if they have submitted adequate data for evaluation, Leapfrog says.

The Leapfrog site offers details on each measures, under headings titled Infections, Problems with surgery, Practices to Prevent Errors, Safety Problems, Doctors, Nurses and Hospital Staff. It also includes an easy-to-read, color-coded scale that indicates how the hospital is performing.

The report notes that the data from the report does not yet reflect the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
Leah Binder, president and CEO of the group. added that the scores in this report should serve as a proxy for the safety of care provided to Covid-19 patients in many ways, noting that hospitals with strong infection control policies in place are better equipped to protect their patients and workers.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, hospitals need to double down on safety, so they save lives, strengthen their organizations, and position themselves to withstand the next crisis. Putting safety first should be the priority of every hospital CEO,” she said in a news release.

High scorers

St. Elizabeth Healthcare-Edgewood has received As on every Leapfrog report card since spring 2014, the first year it was graded.

Other hospitals on the A list are: Baptist Health in La Grange, Lexington, and Richmond; Clark Regional Medical Center in Winchester; Flaget Memorial Hospital in Bardstown; Louisville’s Norton Audubon HospitalNorton Brownsboro HospitalNorton Hospital, and Norton Women’s & Children HospitalSt. Elizabeth Healthcare-Ft. Thomas; and St. Elizabeth Hospital-Florence.

All of the hospitals that got As in this report also got an A on the last report.

Shifts up and down
Baptist Health Madisonville moved down to a B, after moving up to an A in the last following a string of Cs since fall 2017.
After two As in a row, Mercy Health Lourdes in Paducah moved down to a B and Saint Joseph London moved back to a B, after moving up to an A in the last report.
Two hospitals got Bs after not getting a score in the fall of 2020: King’s Daughters Medical Center in Ashland and Tug Valley ARH Regional Medical Center in South Williamson. After having no scores reported in the fall, both hospitals had received Cs since fall 2018.
Other hospitals on the B list are Baptist Health hospitals in Corbin, Louisville and Paducah; Deaconess Henderson Hospital (formerly Methodist Hospital of Henderson); Owensboro HealthT.J. Samson Community Hospital in Glasgow; and TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital in Bowling Green.
Most of the hospitals got Cs, and most of the hospitals on this list got a C on the last report.

Georgetown Community Hospital moved down to a C after getting a B in the last report and As since spring 2018.
Harrison Memorial Hospital in Cynthiana dropped to a C, after getting all As and only one B in the spring 2020 report since fall 2018.
Highlands Regional Medical Center in Prestonsburg moved up to a C after getting a D in the last report. Since spring 2016, this hospital has received either a C or a D on each report.
After not being graded since fall 2018, both Jennie Stuart Health in Hopkinsville and Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center (now part of Owensboro Health) in Leitchfield got Cs.
After getting six Cs in a row, Pikeville Medical Center moved down to a D.  Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center also got a D, its fifth in a row.

Click here for a list of Kentucky hospitals and their Leapfrog safety grades. Click here for a list of frequently asked questions about the report.
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