Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Hospital Ratings

Leapfrog Group Hospital Ratings

A recent report from the Leapfrog Group has rated hospitals across the country. The Leapfrog Group is an independent, national not-for-profit organization of employer purchasers of health care. The Leapfrog Group is a voluntary program aimed at mobilizing employer purchasing power to alert America’s health industry about health care safety, quality and customer value.
An A, B, C, D, or F score assigned to a hospital based on expert analysis of infections, injuries, and medical and medication errors that cause harm or death during a hospital stay—looked closely at how safe hospitals are for patients.
Locally, on Long Island, 5 hospitals scored an A and now have bragging rights to being the “safest” hospitals on Long Island, in New York and maybe in the country. 
One of these hospitals was reported by another group last spring as one of the worst hospitals in patient safety while at the same time winning an award for Excellence in Patient Safety from yet another group.
The CEO of a Midwestern hospital that scored low expressed reservations about how the Leapfrog Group compiles and validates the data it uses to compile scores.
A well known California hospital disputes their F score because they say one patient death in 2010 unfairly lowered its grade from a C to an F.
The senior vice president for a 101-year-old hospital, says he "patently disagrees" with his hospital's F grade, saying that's not reflected in current federally reported data.  "Much of what Leapfrog is using is three or four years old," he says, "and is based on some proprietary methodology, capriciously assigning adverse grades to someone."
Hospitals across the country scoring an A have a very different outlook. They boast to their commitment to patient’s safety, quality care and committed staff.
Years ago I went to a meeting and on the plane I read a magazine listing top hospitals.  I didn’t see a hospital that I knew was always winning awards.  When I saw a top administrator from this hospital, I mentioned that his hospital wasn’t listed.  He grabbed the magazine from my hands and sat in a corner reading it.  Upon his return just minutes later, he shared that this magazine is trash and their scoring doesn’t mean a thing.
Using these rating tools, whether it’s about your local hospital or physician, patient safety and quality care is a two way street and by being vigilant as patients or family members we can help control the outcomes.  Going into a hospital with an F rating might even keep you on guard and with good reason.  Ratings are a tool.  I know of too many people who were injured or died in “the best” hospitals.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

As has been said, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. And then there's marketing.

These types of reports never sync up. I don't know if an accepted standard exists and even if it did, whose statistics are they relying on to reach these conclusions? How were these statistics gathered? From whom? By whom?

As a cancer veteran, I rely on the opinions of the physicians and patients I trust. Some of the most insightful, curious, and effective physicians I've met never make it to the best doctors lists.

I may base my care decisions on anecdotal evidence but I'll never base it absolutely on a marketing survey.

Just my .02 ...

- J.