Area hospitals receive mixed safety grades | News

Some of the region’s major hospitals got poor marks on an independent group’s safety report card.

Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, Somerset Hospital and UPMC Altoona all received C grades on the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade spring report card.

Meanwhile, a state report shows small hospitals continue to struggle financially.

Conemaugh Miners and Meyerdale medical centers, along with Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center at Windber reported losses for the fiscal year that ended in June, the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council financial analysis said.

Safety grades compiled by the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit health care watchdog organization, are based on data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Hospital Association and Leapfrog’s own survey.

Each of the 2,600 participating hospitals is graded on up to 30 measures accepted as factors that may keep patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors.

Indiana Regional Medical Center scored the region’s only A grade. Windber and UPMC Bedford Memorial each received B grades. Miners and Meyersdale were not included due to their small size.

Leaders at both Conemaugh and Somerset said the C grades were affected by reporting issues not related to patient safety.

“We believe we provide very high-quality care here,” Conemaugh Chief Medical Officer Dr. Susan Williams said.

“When we see results like this, obviously, we are disappointed.

“This year, unfortunately, we did have some data entry problems, which would have resulted in an improved score.”

Those responsible for filling out some of the reports failed to show that Memorial employs physicians specializing in critical care medicine to staff the intensive care units, Conemaugh President and CEO Steven Tucker said.

“We only have boarded intensivists in the unit,” Williams said. “That question was not answered correctly. That actually dropped us from a B to a C.”

Moreover, Williams said, many factors can affect the reports, and patients should take a broader investigation when selecting health care facilities. Different agencies, for instance, use different methods to evaluate care and outcomes, she said.

“We do frequently reference the complexity and also the demographics of our patient population,” she said, noting that some of the Leapfrog data is several years old.

“You can get different grades on different surveys,” she continued. “While we certainly believe in transparent reporting, it’s not always apples-to-apples.”

Somerset Hospital did not submit data for all the areas covered by Leapfrog, which hurt the hospital’s grade, President and CEO Craig Saylor said.

The hospital strives to protect patients and scored well in areas…

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