Mountain West Medical Center was one of only three Utah hospitals that received an “A” grade for safety from a national patient safety watchdog group earlier this week.
The Washington, D.C.-based Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit patient safety watchdog group, uses 26 different measures of publicly available hospital safety data to release grades on hospital safety performance throughout the nation. Some 2,618 hospitals were graded and 19 of those were in Utah.
Hospitals were graded based on the risk of medical error, infection, accident or injury occurring during a stay. The grade is based on performance measures from the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The grades released this week are based upon data acquired from 2009 to 2011.
Besides MWMC, Alta View Hospital in Sandy and Timpanogos Regional Hospital in Orem each received an “A” grade. The rest of the hospitals graded in Utah received “B” or “C” grades, with the exception of Utah Valley Regional Hospital in Provo, which received a “D” grade. No Utah hospitals received an “F” grade. Of the 2,618 hospitals graded across the nation, 790 got an “A”, 678 got a “B,” 1,004 got a “C,” 122 got a “D” and 25 got an “F”.
“It’s hard to get an ‘A’ grade to begin with,” said Tim Moran, interim CEO at MWMC. “That’s an indicator that we’re fortunate here in Tooele because our hospital does do good work in relation to patient safety and it eliminates the risk for our patients’ experience. That’s what it’s all about — the right care and safe care.”
Moran said the hospital received the award particularly for not having many surgical infections.
“That is one of the key reasons,” he said. “We have prevented serious complications, but there are several different safety measures the Leapfrog Group looks at.”
Hospitals were graded on 26 separate safety measures. These measures include preventable adverse outcomes of hospital care, such as bloodstream infections, falls and traumas, pressure ulcers, lacerations and punctures, foreign objects retained in the body after surgery and postoperative respiratory failure. Each hospital is also graded on their appropriate use of antibiotics and whether they have adequate coverage and around-the-clock care in the intensive care units.
In addition, Moran said every weekday morning key members of the hospital, from areas like nursing and the lab, do a safety huddle to run through the care that’s being provided and discuss any issues that might have come up.
“We all ask, ‘Are we doing the right thing for the patients?’” Moran said. “When you have a small hospital, you can pay attention to each patient on a daily basis. We work as a team to make sure each patient has what they need.”
Using the 26 measures of safety, the Leapfrog Group calculated a numerical safety for all eligible hospitals. That numerical safety score was then converted into one of five letter grades. The Leapfrog Group then established cut-points for each letter grade. Hospitals in the top quartile performance earned an “A,” and hospitals in the second quartile earned a “B”.
All hospitals voluntarily report the safety measure information to Leapfrog Group or the American Hospital Association. It is also publicly reported through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Hospital Compare website.
Moran said sometimes surveys like the one from Leapfrog Group are viewed as controversial because hospitals aren’t happy with the grades they receive after reporting their information. However, he said Leapfrog Group is well regarded by hospitals across the nation.
“I’m sure the hospitals that didn’t get good grades are probably raising questions about the survey as it relates to their particular experience, but the Leapfrog Group is a very well-known organization for this type of work,” he said. “I was very pleased to see that we earned an A.”