Leap Frog hospital safety grades released

Hospital report card

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A national organization that grades hospitals on safety has released new report cards..

The safety grades were released by the Leap Frog Group, but hospital officials say patients should not make decisions by these grades alone. Safety grades are all about guarding against medical errors and physical harm to patients.

“It’s an A, B, C, D, or F that we give hospitals to say how safe they are, how well they protect their patients from errors, injuries, accidents that can actually kill or harm people,” says Leap Frog Group President and CEO, Leah Binder.

Health officials say patients have a one in 25 chance of leaving the hospital with a new infection. And medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

We looked at eleven hospitals in the Birmingham area. Grandview Medical and Medical West were both given C’s. St. Vincent’s Birmingham and St. Vincent’s East were given D’s.

Leap Frog bases its grades on 28 measures of safety data. But Rosemary Blackmon, the COO of the Alabama Hospital Association, says the Leap Frog system is flawed.

“That’s the problem with some of these ratings, is it just tries to compile too many disparate measures over different time periods into one letter grade that really is not a good marker for what that hospital does in terms of the care they provide,” says Blackmon.

In a statement, Grandview Medical says they are a “high performing facility with the quality of care measured and recognized by several national benchmarking providers.”

Medical West’s CEO Keith Pennington gave us this statement: “We have performed well in many areas and continue to aggressively implement programs to improve these measures.”

The statement from St. Vincent’s campuses reads “We pride ourselves on our commitment to safety in everything we do. We are regularly recognized for our efforts surrounding safety and quality of care.”

Blackmon suggests going to sites like Hospital Compare, on the federal government’s Medicare website. Blackmon says patient safety is something every hospital works towards.

“You have to watch everything at the hospital. Bring an advocate with you to watch to make sure that you get the right medication. To make sure, when a caregiver walks in the room to care for you that they wash their hands before they touch you,” says Binder.

The full list of the eleven hospitals we looked at can be found here.

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