(The Center Square) – Most Illinois hospitals scored well in a new patient safety report that attempts to capture the risk of errors and accidents at facilities around the country.
The grades were released by The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit watchdog organization that seeks to educate the public about the safety and quality of health care facilities.
More than 100 general, acute care hospitals in the state made the list.
“What we're seeing this time around is that Illinois is ranked 17th out of all states, with 35% of all hospitals this spring earning an ‘A,’” said Erica Mobley, director of operations for The Leapfrog Group.
The overall ranking jumped up from 24th place in the fall report. Mobley says the hospitals that received top marks all have a strong culture of safety.
“What that means is that safety is something that everyone is focused on every single day from the C-suite all the way down, through all levels of staff,” Mobley said. “They're making sure that staff are putting patients first and putting the safety first for everyone every single day.”
On the other end of the spectrum, one facility in the state, St. Bernard Hospital in Chicago, received an ‘F.’ It was one of only ten hospitals in the country to receive a failing grade.
Five others in Illinois got D grades. Mobley says simple changes, like strict hand-washing procedures, could lead to improved grades.
“It seems like it would be something so basic,” Mobley said, “but for a physician or a nurse who are seeing hundreds or thousands of patients a day, it's so easy to just run into a room and not stop to think, ‘Have I washed my hands yet?’ It is so critical to the spread of preventing the spread of infection.”
The study considers 28 different factors when assigning grades, including various policies and procedures as well as patient outcomes.
“We really do see hospitals of all shapes and sizes able to earn an ‘A’ because a lot of the things that we're looking at aren't necessarily very challenging or very expensive,” Mobley said. “For example, one of the measures that we look at is ‘objects left inside the patient during surgery.’ No matter what size hospital you are, that should absolutely never be happening.”
Mobley says the results are useful even if patients have no choice as to what hospital is treating them.
“In the case of an emergency, it's important to get to the closest hospital as quickly as possible,” Mobley said. “But if they are going to a hospital with a lower grade, be aware of that, so that they can ask their physicians and their nurses what they are doing to keep them safe in the hospital.”
The information used in the report comes from 2019 data, prior to hospitals treating COVID-19 patients in their facilities.
To see ratings for hospitals in Illinois, go to hospitalsafetygrade.org.