As a group, Kentucky’s hospitals didn’t fare as badly as some other states in the latest rankings of healthcare centers in the U.S. But our state’s lower percentage of “A”-rated hospitals might be a clearer indicator of how much room there is for improvement.
The Leapfrog Group, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., rates our nation’s hospitals. Every other year, beginning in 2013, it has surveyed the nation’s major hospitals in the fall and then again the following spring. In the most recent cycle, it evaluated more than 2,500 hospitals nationwide – including 52 in Kentucky – in the fall of 2017, then again in April 2018. Most of Kentucky’s hospitals were not rated because rural critical-access hospitals are not required to report their quality measures. Emphasis is on several factors, including the prevalence of treatment-related errors, injuries, accidents, and infections. The evaluation group is a panel of doctors from across the country.
The grades are calculated by using 30 publicly available safety-performance measures from five different databases, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Hospital Association’s Annual Survey. The Leapfrog Group’s report is peer-reviewed and published in the Journal of Patient Safety.
Leapfrog assigns letter grades “A” through “F” after evaluating 30 performance measures, including hygiene, medication errors, in-hospital patient injuries from falls and trauma, and hospital-acquired infection rates, among other factors. A total of 13 Kentucky hospitals received an A grade from Leapfrog; 14 were awarded a B; 19 of them got C’s; four were given D’s; but none received a failing grade.
Our Pikeville Medical Center was one of the 13 Kentucky hospitals to receive an A in both fall and spring periods. But it is also the only Kentucky hospital which has received straight A’s since the Leapfrog survey program began in 2013. Click here to view Pikeville’s latest Leapfrog Group hospital safety score.
Overall, Kentucky held down 34th position in the national poll. But compared to the rest of the nation, the number of “A-rated” Kentucky hospitals (13) was 21.7 percent, lower than the median average per state of 31.3 percent. Eighteen Kentucky hospitals, or 34.6 percent, earned a B or a C. Four hospitals, (7.7 percent) got a D. That number is down from six (11.5 percent) which received a D in the fall.
“Once again Kentucky had fewer ‘A’-rated hospitals than the national median, and more hospitals rated near the bottom with increasing numbers of ‘D’s,” wrote Dr. Peter Hasselbacher, emeritus professor of medicine at the University of Louisville, in an op-ed for the Kentucky Health Policy Institute blog. More troublesome to Hasselbacher, is the observation that all but one of the six hospitals which received a ‘D’ in the fall are in the same hospital system.”
“Patients should be aware that hospitals are not all equally competent at protecting them from injuries and infections,” Leapfrog President and CEO Leah Binder said in the report.
Click here to view all Kentucky rated hospitals’ safety scores in the 2017/18 Leapfrog Group Survey.
If you have any questions about medical or prescription malpractice, or if you or a family member is a victim of such malfeasance, you’re encouraged to contact the Billy Johnson Law Firm any time. We can help.