New report grades each Memphis-area hospital based on safety, risk of dying

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A new report ranked Memphis-area hospitals based on patients’ risks of dying from medical mistakes, safety issues and infections.

National nonprofit Leapfrog Group graded 11 hospitals using two years' worth of medical data and safety measures.

This report card shows Memphis hospitals have made some improvement.

Leapfrog Group researchers said only 20 percent of these hospitals had ‘A’ or ‘B’ grades last year and now that number has gone up to 36 percent. But hospitals like Regional One Health have consistently gotten low scores.

These grades are based on how well these facilities protect their patients from medical accidents, harm and error during a hospital visit.

“We do this by taking 28 different measures of safety and calculating that into a single composite grade. Half the grade looks at the policies and procedures that hospitals have in place to prevent the errors and half of it looks at which how often errors actually happen in the hospital,” said Erica Mobley, director of operations at the Leapfrog Group.

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Some of those safety problems are patient falls, bed sores and air bubbles in the blood.

“Whether it’s trauma or open-heart surgery or stitches, anyone who gets transported to the hospital for any reason deserves to be safe,” said Mobley. “A lot of what we’re looking at really is important for all hospitals for to be doing regardless of the types of cases they see and the types of patients they treat.

“We recognize that some hospitals have a lot of challenges, and they treat a challenge population or may have budget challenges.”

In the report, six area hospitals received an ‘A’ or ‘B’. Saint Francis Hospital maintained ‘A’ rankings over the past couple of years and Methodist University Hospital improved from a ‘C’ a ‘B.’

But five Memphis-area hospitals were on the bottom.

Baptist Memorial Hospital of Memphis dropped from a ‘B’ to a ‘C’ and Regional One Health has consistently received Ds and Cs.

“When we see a hospital like that receiving very low grades, that’s an indication that they’re really not prioritizing patient safety,” said Mobley.

FOX13 reached out the American Hospital Association (AHA) about this latest report card.

Akin Demehin, director of quality policy at the AHA, said these grades must be interpreted with context.

“The recent double-digit percentage reductions in hospital-acquired conditions and healthcare-associated infections show that hospitals are making important strides in making care safer,” said Demehin in a statement. “For example, some of the data used to calculate hospital grades are more than two years old and may not reflect more recent performance improvement efforts.

“In addition, not all measures apply to all patients, which can matter when report cards are used as the primary tool to select a hospital for a specific procedure.”

You can review the full report card here. There, you can read an in-depth report on why each hospital received the grade it did.

FOX13 obtained statements from the following providers about their scores on this survey:

Saint Francis Hospital - Memphis and Barlett – A for both

"Saint Francis Hospital - Memphis and Saint Francis Hospital - Bartlett are proud to be recognized by The Leapfrog Group for our top A grades for patient safety, which demonstrates our commitment to providing safe, high-quality care.  Every day, we focus on driving improvements in care delivery and patient satisfaction. Our clinical leaders regularly review our hospitals' patient care processes and compare our data to nationally recognized benchmarks and best practices. Nothing is more important to us than offering our patients trusted care in a safe environment." - Dr. Audrey Gregory, CEO of Saint Francis Health System

Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown Hospital – A 

"At Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, we are excited to see the results of our ongoing focused efforts to provide exceptional care for our patients reflected in our improved grades, and we will continue to build on our successes to further improve patient safety and provide the level of care our patients and their families deserve." - Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Spokesperson.

Baptist Memorial Hospital of Memphis, Collierville and DeSoto – C grades for all three locations 

"We are disappointed with our past Leapfrog Survey results.  We know quality ratings are an imperfect science and don't always reflect the quality of care that we offer at our hospitals or the dedication of our staff. However, we participate in quality surveys so that we can raise our standard of care. In fact, we are currently in the middle of our 2019 Leapfrog Survey, and we anticipate better results. Providing quality care for every patient is a priority for all our team members. And we continuously and vigorously monitor the safety and quality of our care, as well as invest time and resources to identify best practices, train staff and implement higher standards of care. We will continue to participate in quality surveys and focus on providing better care because it matters to our patients, team members and their families." - Dr. Henry Sullivant, VP/Chief Medical Officer, Baptist Memorial Health Care

Regional One Health – D

"Regional One Health is committed to providing a safe health care experience to every patient. From leadership to the front-line employees and medical staff, Regional One Health is actively working to improve patient safety in the organization. As with any report card, results must be interpreted in context. This grade is not a complete reflection of Regional One Health's work and commitment to patient safety and delivering quality health care services. 
Regional One Health actively addresses opportunities for improvement. For example, the use of a well-functioning Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) system and medical record integration are measures in this survey.  Regional One Health has recently migrated several stand-alone systems into a single medical record system.  The implementation of this new medical record system allows a single health record for patient care communicating with various departments and will positively impact our scores in the future. 
Regional One Health provides safe, quality health care to this community, but we recognize there is always room for improvement.  We will continue our work and strong commitment to providing quality and safe care to our patients." – Regional One Health spokesperson.