When choosing a hospital for yourself or your loved ones, one of the most important considerations should be patient safety. Preventable medical error, including accidents, injuries, and infections, is the third leading cause of death in the United States so choosing a facility that keeps patient safety at the top of its priority list could prove to be a life or death decision.
The Leapfrog Group, a non-profit consumer healthcare advocacy group based out of Washington, D. C., develops a bi-annual report card evaluating 27 patient safety factors in over 2500 hospital through the United States. Leapfrog’s goal is to help hospitals improve their patient safety measures by eliminating preventable medical errors, accidents, injuries, and infections that account for more than 500,000 deaths each year, the third leading cause of death in the United States.
Leapfrog evaluates hospital patient safety based on a review of 27 safety measures provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) and from data provided through hospital surveys. These measures and data are analyzed by bi-annually by patient safety experts, are peer-reviewed, and free to the public. Leapfrog then assigns a grade, ranging from “A” to “F”, based on the evaluation of the following safety measures:
- Hospital-acquired infections, including MRSA and C. diff
- Falls, injuries, and accidents sustained by the patient while in the hospital
- Surgical site infections
- Blood clots
- Blood and urinary tract infections
- Post-surgical problems suffered by the patient
- Unintentional cuts and tears
- Does the hospital train employees and staff on patient safety measures?
Leapfrog evaluated 46 hospitals in Kentucky for its Spring 2018 report card. 10 Kentucky hospitals earned “A” grades, although only one of those is located in the Louisville area, while 17 hospitals earned “B” grades, 13 were given “C” grades, and only 6 received “D” grades. Thankfully, no Kentucky hospitals were given an “F” during this evaluation period.
How did Louisville-area hospitals fare?
Leapfrog’s latest report card provided a mixed bag for Louisville-area hospitals. Only one Louisville-area hospital earned a coveted “A” grade, while several hospitals improved their scores, and 3 failed to raise their consistently underperforming “D” grades over the last several rating periods.
The only Louisville-area hospital earning a grade of “A” is Hardin Memorial Hospital located in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, maintaining the “A” it achieved following the Fall 2017 evaluation. It’s important to note that Hardin Memorial has steadily improved its safety scores from “C” earned during both 2016 evaluations, and a “B” in its Spring 2017 report, to “A” in its last two evaluations.
Norton Healthcare Hospitals
The news for patients who prefer Norton hospitals was good overall as all Norton Healthcare hospitals in the Louisville area earned “B” grades, although Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital fell from an “A” in its Fall 2017 evaluation to a “B” in the Spring 2018 report card.
Norton Brownsboro raised its grade from a “C” over the last 4 evaluations dating back to Spring 2015 to a “B” grade in Spring 2018, while both Norton Audubon and Norton Hospital downtown maintained the “B” grade they received in Fall 2017.
Baptist Healthcare Hospitals
Baptist Healthcare hospitals saw a mixed review of its facilities. Baptist Health Floyd in New Albany went down a grade from a “B” to a “C” in its Spring 2018 evaluation, while Baptist Health LaGrange and Baptist Health Louisville each improved their grades from a “C” to a “B” in the latest report card.
Clark Memorial Hospital
Clark Memorial Hospital in Jeffersonville failed to improve its grade from a “C”, which it has consistently earned over the last 5 evaluations dating back to Spring 2015.
KentuckyOne Health Inc. Hospitals
KentuckyOne Health hospitals, which include the University of Louisville Hospital, Jewish Hospital, Sts. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital, and Flaget Memorial Hospital in Bardstown, had poor patient safety scores during the Spring 2018 evaluation, although Flaget fared better than its sister hospital under the KentuckyOne Health banner.
Flaget scored a “C” grade, a drop from the “B” it earned in the Fall 2017 analysis, while the remaining 3 facilities all kept their dismally low “D” grades for the fifth straight evaluation period.
To help make the most informed decision you can when choosing the best hospital for yourself and your family, follow this link to look up the overall safety score and specific patient safety findings about hospitals in your area.