3 local hospitals get 'C' grade

Safety grades for Charlotte-area hospitals.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- When you go to the hospital, you pay for and quite frankly expect treatment that will help you and not hurt you. But that isn’t always the case.

A new report grades our local hospitals and three of them received a “C” grade.

This yearly report is put out by Leapfrog, which says it’s an independent non-profit organization committed to hospital safety and transparency. These grades come with a lot of footnotes, so don’t be too put off by what you might hear and see.

The 18 hospitals within 50 miles of Charlotte could receive either an A, B, C, D, or F, grade. Leapfrog says it uses data from 30 different public sources to compile the list. In our area, only three hospitals were given Cs, the rest were As and Bs.

The biggest and most recognizable “C” grade went to Carolina’s Medical Center in Charlotte. NBC Charlotte opened the findings and looked where they were downgraded: infections were one of them, they got a yellow grade for MRSA but a green for CDIFF, both of which can be life-threatening. 

Under problems with surgery, CMC was graded in the red for dangerous objects left in patients, wounds splitting open and death from treatable complications. On the flip side, they were given green for treating blood clots during surgery.

In the staff category, CMC was also scored in the green for effective leadership to prevent errors in the hospital, and in the “safety problems” category, CMC scored green in four out of five sections for how they handle things like bed sores and ventilator problems.

In response to the Leapfrog data, Carolina’s Medical Center issued this statement:

Carolinas HealthCare System is dedicated to providing high-quality, safe and effective care.  While the Leapfrog Safety Grade is a well-known rating, its data is not adjusted for socioeconomic factors, which can affect grades for hospitals like Carolinas Medical Center that care for patients with more complex diseases and are at higher-risk for complications. CHS is a national leader in patient quality and safety, being among the first healthcare systems in the nation to establish its own Patient Safety Organization that allows providers to collaborate across the system to prevent harm by identifying trends, best clinical practices and opportunities for improvement.  Our record of reducing patient safety events resulted in our recently being one of two hospital systems nationally chosen by  the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to participate in its Partnership for Patients Hospital Improvement Innovation Network - the fifth Partnership for Patients program we were selected for.  We support efforts to improve the quality of care and increase transparency of quality and patient safety, including making our safety and quality data available on our website, http://www.carolinashealthcare.org/about-us. We are also the first provider in the region to publish patient comments and provider ratings on its website.  All ranking systems have strengths and weaknesses and we encourage patients to understand how rankings are derived and to use them as just one of many tools when making healthcare decisions.

Novant Health’s Rowan Medical Center also received a “C” grade.

Novant says:

“Most Novant Health facilities were assigned an A or B grade, with most showing an improvement in the calculated Leapfrog Group Hospital Safety Scores and letter grades. Novant Health Rowan Medical Center was the only Novant Health facility to receive a C grade. Until our system can report zero incidents of infection or error, we will never be fully satisfied.  Therefore, on an ongoing basis, a team of Novant Health physicians and clinical staff analyze our hospital acquired conditions, patient safety indicators, hospital-acquired infections, safe practice measures and patient communications to identify opportunities for improvement.  We have and will continue to remain dedicated to implementing new strategies to directly address patient safety and patient satisfaction. - Diana Best, SVP, Clinical Improvement.

This Leapfrog report is one of many public reporting systems available on healthcare. Hospitals say that you should read it in depth, but don’t use it as the sole source for making your healthcare decisions.

You can view the whole report here.

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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