Most Ky. hospitals in national patient safety ratings got Cs again

Screenshot of Leapfrog page for Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center, which moved to a C rating after getting five Ds in a row. 

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

A nonprofit group that grades hospitals for patient safety was able to provide scores for nine more Kentucky hospitals in its latest report, and again gave Cs to most of those it graded.

The Leapfrog Group, based in Washington, D.C., rated more than 2,900 general acute-care hospitals, the most ever. Most of Kentucky’s 126 hospitals were not rated, but those that were have most of the state’s hospital beds.

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 A ratings to 15 Kentucky hospitals, or about 25% of those it graded, up from 24% in the last report. Kentucky ranked 30th in A grades, up from 33rd in the last report, issued in May 2021.  Leapfrog gave Bs to 17 Kentucky hospitals, Cs to 23, and Ds to four.

The twice-yearly grades are based on more than 30 performance measures of patient safety that indicate how well hospitals protect patients from errors, injuries, accidents and infections. For the first time, the report includes performance grades for post-operative sepsis, blood leakage and kidney injury.

The news release notes that post-operative sepsis can result in “suffering, disability and sometimes death for an estimated 160,000 people a year in the United States. It adds that sepsis in all settings kills over 270,000 people a year and is the costliest condition in U.S. hospitals. Further, it says that Black people are twice as likely as white people to be diagnosed with sepsis

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, and Doctors, Nurses and Hospital Staff. It also includes an easy-to-read, color-coded scale that indicates how the hospital is performing.

High scorers
Hospitals getting As were: Baptist Health in Lexington, Paducah, and Richmond; Deaconess Henderson HospitalFlaget Memorial Hospital in Bardstown; Logan Memorial Hospital in Russellville; Middlesboro ARH Hospital; Monroe County Medical Center in Tompkinsville; Louisville’s Norton Audubon Hospital, Norton Brownsboro Hospital, Norton Hospital, and Norton Women’s & Children HospitalOwensboro HealthSt. Elizabeth Healthcare-Florence; and Tristar Greenview Regional Hospital in Bowling Green.
Of these, Baptist Health Paducah, Deaconess, Owensboro and Greenview moved up from a B rating in the last report. Logan Memorial, Middlesboro ARH, and Monroe County were not scored in the last report. The rest maintained their A grade.
Shifts up and down
After receiving Cs and Ds since the Spring of 2016, U of L Health – Mary and Elizabeth Hospital got a B on the latest report.
Four others moved up to a B, after getting Cs in the last report. They were Frankfort Regional Medical CenterLake Cumberland Regional Medical Center in Somerset and Saint Joseph-East in Lexington.
Four moved down to a B, after getting an A on the last report: Baptist Health LaGrangeClark Regional Medical Center in Winchester; St. Elizabeth Healthcare-Ft Thomas; and St Elizabeth Healthcare-Edgewood.
Other hospitals with B grades are Advent Health ManchesterBaptist Health in Corbin and Louisville; Mercy Health Lourdes in Paducah; Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center in Paintsville; Saint Joseph-LondonSaint Joseph Mount SterlingThree Rivers Medical Center in Louisa; and Tug Valley ARH Regional Medical Center in South Williamson.
Again, most of the hospitals got Cs, and most on this list got a C on the last report.
After getting five Ds in a row, Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center moved up to a C.
Three hospitals dropped to a C, after having Bs on the last report: Baptist Health MadisonvilleKing’s Daughters Medical Center in Ashland; and T.J. Sampson Community Hospital in Glasgow.
Three that got Cs on the last report moved down to a D. They are Jennie Stuart Health in Hopkinsville; Murray-Calloway County Hospital; and Taylor Regional Hospital in Campbellsville. Pikeville Medical Center got its second D in a row after a string of Cs. Only two Kentucky hospitals got a D score in the Spring report.
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