When it comes to hospital safety, Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs falls short.
On Tuesday, the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization committed to driving quality, safety, and transparency in the United States health care system, released new Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades, which assign A, B, C, D and F letter grades to hospitals nationwide.
Desert Regional Medical Center was one of 964 hospitals in the nation to receive a “C.”
Meanwhile, John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Indio and Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage were among the 823 hospitals to receive an “A” for their commitment to reducing errors, infections, and accidents that can harm patients.
It takes consistent, unwavering dedication to patients to achieve the highest standards of patient safety. An ‘A’ Safety Grade recognizes hospitals for this accomplishment, said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group,
One of the areas of concern for Desert Regional Medical Center is staph infections, according to the grading organization.
Staph bacteria are common in hospitals, but Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to (cannot be killed by) many antibiotics. MRSA can be found in bed linens or medical equipment and can be spread if providers do not properly wash their hands between patients. MRSA can cause life-threatening bloodstream infections, pneumonia and surgical site infections.
More than 400,000 people die annually due to preventable mistakes in hospitals, according to the Journal of Patient Safety.
“Errors and infections in hospitals are the third leading cause of death in America, and people deserve to know which of their hospitals are best at preventing them,” said Binder.
Another area of concern for Desert Regional Medical Center is infection in the blood during an ICU stay. If a patient is in the Intensive Care Unit, he or she may be given a central line (a tube inserted into the body to deliver medication and other treatments.) Patients with a central line are at high risk for developing a dangerous infection in the blood. These serious infections can lead to other complications, increase recovery time, and can often lead to death.
To draw attention to this epidemic, in 2012 The Leapfrog Group decided to expand its focus beyond employers to reach consumers directly. Out of this vision came the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, a letter grade rating of how safe hospitals are for patients. The Safety Grade provides consumers with the critical information on how likely they are to experience accidents, injuries, errors or harm while in the hospital.
The Hospital Safety Grades are compiled under the guidance of patient safety experts and administered by The Leapfrog Group, a national, independent nonprofit. The Hospital Safety Grades are free to the public and designed to give consumers information they can use to protect themselves and their families when facing a hospital stay.
Developed under the guidance of a Blue Ribbon National Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 27 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign A, B, C, D and F grades to more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals twice per year. It is calculated by top patient safety experts, peer reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public.
“What we’ve learned is that transparency has a real impact on patient safety,” Binder said. “By making the Hospital Safety Grades public, we’ve galvanized major changes in these states and many communities. Not only does it require dedication from national organizations, such as Leapfrog, to make this information public, but also from local coalitions, regional leaders, employers, business leaders and other community organizations to work with these hospitals and their communities to improve the quality and safety of health care.”
Of the 2,632 hospitals graded for fall 2017, 832 earned an “A,” 662 a “B,” 964 a “C,” 159 a “D” and 15 an “F.”
The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is the only hospital rating focused exclusively on hospital safety. Its A, B, C, D or F letter grades are a quick way for consumers to choose the safest hospital to seek care.