Most Kentucky hospitals in national safety ratings got Cs again; state’s percentage of A grades is 35th in nation, down from 30th

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

A nonprofit group that gives letter grades twice a year to hospitals for patient safety has again given grades of C to most Kentucky hospitals on its list.

The Leapfrog Group, based in Washington, D.C., rated nearly 3,000 general acute-care hospitals. Most of Kentucky’s 126 hospitals were not rated.

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.

Lepfrog gave A ratings to 11 Kentucky hospitals, 20% of the 55 it graded; Kentucky ranked 35th among states in A grades, down from 30th in the last report. It gave Bs to 14 Kentucky hospitals, Cs to 25 and Ds to five.
The grades are based on more than 30 measures that indicate how well hospitals protect patients from preventable errors, injuries, accidents and infections. A Leapfrog news release says the latest grades reflect the impact of the pandemic on patient safety, with several measures showing a significant decline. The latest Hospital Safety Grades are published alongside a new report titled, “Patient Experience During the Pandemic: Adult Inpatient Care.”

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 a number of  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 Scores
Hospitals getting As were: Baptist Health in Corbin, Lexington and Richmond; Deaconess Henderson Hospital; Tompkinsville’s Monroe County Medical Center; Louisville’s Norton Audubon HospitalNorton Brownsboro HospitalNorton Hospital, and Norton Women’s & Children’s HospitalMercy Health Lourdes in Paducah; and St. Elizabeth Healthcare-Ft. Thomas.
Of these, Baptist Health Corbin, Mercy Health Lourdes and St. Elizabeth moved up from a B rating in the last report. The rest maintained their A grade.
This is the sixth straight grading period that all four Norton Healthcare adult-service hospitals in Louisville have received an A.
Shifts up and down

After receiving Cs and one D since spring 2016, Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center in Danville rose to a B on the latest report.

The Albert B. Chandler Hospital at the University of Kentucky also moved up to a B after receiving Cs and one D since fall 2018.

Three others also moved up to a B, after getting a C last time: Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville; Glasgow’s T.J. Samson Community Hospital; and Leitchfield’s Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center, which has joined the Owensboro Health system.

Owensboro Health’s main hospital fell moved from A to B, as did three others: Baptist Health Paducah; Bowling Green’s TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital and Middlesboro ARH Hospital.

Other hospitals with B grades are Baptist Health Louisville; Winchester’s Clark Regional Medical CenterFrankfort Regional Medical Center; Lexington’s Saint Joseph East; and St. Elizabeth Heatlhcare-Edgewood.

Almost half the 55 Kentucky hospitals graded by Leapfrog got Cs on the latest report. Of those, most of them also got a C on the last report; nine moved down from a higher grade.

After getting seven and three As in a row, respectively, St. Elizabeth Healthcare-Florence and Flaget Memorial Hospital in Bardstown fell to the C level.

Seven hospitals dropped to a C after having Bs last time: Advent Health ManchesterBaptist Health La GrangeLake Cumberland Regional Hospital in Somerset; St. Joseph Mount SterlingSt. Joseph-LondonTug Valley ARH Regional Medical Center in South Williamson; and U of L Health-Sts. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital in Louisville.

After receiving seven Cs in a row, St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead fell to a D. The other four hospitals with Ds got the same grade on the last report: Murray-Calloway County Hospital; Hopkinsville’s Jennie Stuart HealthPikeville Medical Center and Taylor Regional Hospital in Campbellsville.

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