If you had a choice, would you have your surgery at an “average” hospital? In California, 41 percent of hospitals earned a “C” or lower in a report released recently by The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit watchdog for patient safety .
The rankings are based on how well hospitals – large and small -- protect patients from avoidable errors. On average, one medication error per day occurs for each hospitalized patient in the US, and more than 180,000 Americans die every year from hospital accidents, errors, and infections.
In California, Leapfrog graded 264 hospitals, looking at falls and trauma, central line-associated bloodstream infections, very severe pressure ulcers, and preventable complications from surgery such as foreign objects retained in the body, postoperative hazards, and accidental punctures or lacerations.
Postoperative hazards can result in patients being re-admitted a short while after they are discharged. This is of particular concern to hospitals because, in effort to create a safety incentive, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will begin soon to levy penalties against hospitals when patients are readmitted within 30 days.
Although I was shocked when it happened to my dad, one in four Medicare patients will leave a hospital with a potentially fatal issue they didn’t have prior to hospitalization, according to recent studies.
The Leapfrog hospital safety ratings are available online.