Most Kentucky hospitals in national patient-safety ratings got C grades again; state ranks 36th among states in share of A ratings

Screenshot of Leapfrog page for AdventHealth Manchester, which moved up to an A from a C.

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Most of the 60 Kentucky hospitals graded on a nonprofit group’s report card for patient safety got a grade of C.

The Leapfrog Group, based in Washington, D.C., rates nearly 3,000 general acute-care hospitals based on how well they protect patients. Most of Kentucky’s 126 hospitals are relatively small and are 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.

Leapfrog gave A ratings to 11 Kentucky hospitals, or 18.3% of the 60 it graded; Kentucky ranked 36th among states in the percentage of A grades, about the same as 35th in the last report. It gave Bs to 16 Kentucky hospitals, Cs to 23 and Ds to 10.

The grades are based on more than 30 measures that indicate how well hospitals protect patients from preventable errors, injuries, accidents and infections, and whether hospitals have systems in place to prevent them.

A Leapfrog news release notes that this is the 10th anniversary of the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade report and that an analysis of data gathered from 2012 to 2022 suggests there has been an improvement in patient safety over time, with a 27% decrease in falls and trauma, and a nearly 29% decrease in objects being unintentionally left in bodies after surgery. Further, it found decreases in infections associated with health care.

“For five of the outcome measures that can be tracked, these improvements saved an estimated more than 16,000 lives over the 10-year period,” the release says.

The report uses data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Leapfrog’s own survey and other supplemental data sources. Leapfrog says hospitals are only graded if they have submitted adequate data for evaluation.

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: Advent Health Manchester; Baptist Health Lexington; Baptist Health RichmondClark Regional Center in Winchester; Deaconess Henderson Hospital; Louisville’s Norton Audubon Hospital, Norton Brownsboro Hospital, Norton Hospital, and Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital; St. Elizabeth Healthcare-Ft. Thomas; and Lebanon’s Spring View Hospital.

AdventHealth Manchester moved up from a C on the last report, Clark Regional Center moved up from a B on the last two, and Spring View Hospital got its first A ever. The rest maintained their A grades.

Baptist Health Lexington has received an A grade for 10 consecutive grading periods, and and Baptist Health Richmond has received an A for five consecutive grading periods.

This is the seventh straight grading period that all four Norton Healthcare adult-service hospitals in Louisville have received an A.

“By working together and keeping the safety of our patients — and each other — at the center of all they do, Norton Healthcare’s employees consistently do the hard work that is necessary to receive ‘A’ Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades,” Russell F. Cox, president and CEO of Norton Healthcare, said in a news release. “Seven consecutive ‘A’ grades is no small feat, and I am honored to lead this exceptional team.”

Shifts up and down

After receiving four Cs in a row, preceded by nine Ds, University of Louisville Hospital rose to a B on the latest report.

“Improved data reporting, and other initiatives, implemented since UofL Health’s formation are beginning to show positive direction,” UofL Health said in a statement. ” As the first hospital in the system, UofL Hospital’s rising grade is an early indicator of more to come. . . . For our other facilities, the grades issued by Leapfrog reflect data that lags by several years and continue to include years of previous ownership groups.”

Other U of L hospitals graded by Leapfrog were UofL Health Shelbyville Hospital (B), UofL Health-Sts. Mary and Elizabeth Hospitals (C), and Jewish Hospital (C).

Meadowview Regional Medical Center in Maysville moved up to a B after receiving two Cs in a row, as did Saint Joseph Hospital in Lexington, after getting four Cs in a row and Lexington’s UK HealthCare Good Samaritan Hospital after getting five Cs in a row.

Two Kentucky hospitals moved from an A grade on the last report to a C grade: Mercy Health Lourdes in Paducah and Monroe County Medical CenterBaptist Health Corbin moved from an A to a B.

Baptist Health Paducah moved down to a C from a B, after having received only one C grade since fall 2018, and Owensboro Health moved down to a C after receiving only As and Bs since spring 2018.

Other hospitals that moved from a B to a C were Frankfort Regional Medical Center and TJ Sampson Community Hospital in Glasgow.

Five hospitals moved from a C grade down to a D grade.

Flaget Memorial Hospital in Bardstown moved down to a D from a C, after having received all As and one B since Fall 2019.

Harlan ARH Hospital moved down to a D after receiving seven Cs in a row, and Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center got a D after getting two Cs in a row.

Jackson Purchase Medical Center in Mayfield moved down to a D after getting seven Cs in a row.

The other five hospitals with D grades are Jennie Stuart Health in Hopkinsville, Murray-Calloway County Hospital, Pikeville Medical Center, St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead, and Taylor Regional Hospital in Campbellsville. Each also got a D on the last report.

Click here for a list of frequently asked questions about the survey. Click here to see if your hospital was graded.

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