PARKERSBURG - The Camden Clark Medical Center made the grade on a ratings system evaluating patient safety while Marietta Memorial Hospital had some concerns with how it was evaluated.
The Camden Clark received a B grade while Marietta Memorial received a C in the Hospital Safety Score compliled by the Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit run by employers and other large purchasers of health benefits, under the guidence of some of the nation's top medical professionals.
The Hospital Safety Score is calculated using publicly available data on patient injuries, medical and medication errors, and infections.
The purpose of the Hospital Safety Score is to highlight the country's best hospitals and warn against the worst to save lives and bring attention to the nation's silent safety epidemic, officials with the Leapfrog Group said. According to recent studies, one in four Medicare patients will leave a hospital with a potentially fatal issue they didn't have prior to hospitalization, they said adding on average, one medication error per day occurs for each hospitalized patient, and more than 180,000 Americans die every year from hospital accidents, errors, and infections.
Of the 2,652 general hospitals issued a Hospital Safety Score, 729 earned an A, 679 earned a B, and 1,243 earned a C or below, Leapfrog officials said.
Officials at Camden Clark were thrilled with a B.
"Patient safety is an aspect of healthcare that requires constant diligence in monitoring and something CCMC takes very seriously,'' said Cindy Kern, vice president for quality and patient safety at Camden Clark. ''We have a dedicated patient safety officer whose entire job is geared toward assuring the safety of our patients.
''While we continually strive for perfection, the above average grade the Leapfrog Group assigned CCMC is very encouraging that we are on the right track," she said. "Moreover, as a regional medical center, we are pleased to be the highest ranked hospital in the Mid Ohio Valley when it comes to making sure our patients are safe.''
Kern said she examined the methodology the Leapfrog Group used.
''It is very standard and very fair. It is a good scoring methodology,'' she said. ''They standardize the way they score all of the hospitals so it is a fair system.''
Officials at Marietta Memorial took issue with the methodology, saying it is not so straight forward.
DeeAnn Gehlauf, vice president of business and organizational development, said the hospital was concerned about its C and didn't believe it provided an accurate view of what the hospital does for patient safety.
Gehlauf said they are all for transparency in evaluating patient safety, but they had concerns regarding the Leapfrog methodology. There was a survey component to the score they did not participate in.
''How does non-participation affect scores,'' she said.
Although giving a letter grade is something everyone understands from their school days, Gehlauf said there was little indication of what constituted a particilar letter grade in the Leapfrog system. In some school districts an A is a score of 91 percent or higher while in other districts an A could be a 95 percent or higher.
Also, some procedures have a low number of cases so a problem on one case can have a significant impact on that particular overall score.
''We are still going through the process to determine how they arrived at their scores,'' Gehlauf said.
Evaluating patient safety is something officials at Marietta Memorial are engaging in everyday.
''We all have rigerous processes in place to review patient safety,'' Gehlauf said.
Marietta Memorial Hospital was awarded the 2009 HealthGrades Patient Safety Excellence Award and Selby General Hospital was named in the Top 15 percent in the nation for Joint Replacement Care in 2010.
Marietta Memorial was one of the top five percent of all hospitals in the U.S. recognized with the patient safety award, said Jennifer Offenberger, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the Memorial Health System. Marietta Memorial was also one of only sixteen hospitals in Ohio to be recognized for patient safety excellence on a national basis by HealthGrades in 2009, she said.
Offenberger said these awards acknowledges their commitment to safety by continuing to have good patient outcomes.
''It reaffirms our commitment to patient safety and the quality of care we provide our community,'' she said.
Gehlauf said there are a lot of groups out there evaluating hospitals. Hospital officials need to look at what these evaluations are saying and how they arrived at their conclusions.
''Is it telling us something that we need to take action on,'' she said.
Camden Clark also is continuing to look at patient safety with regular review of procedures and regular inspections.
''All hospitals have areas to improve when it comes to quality and safety,'' Kern said. ''We have remained diligent with that work. If we see other hospitals struggling with certain processes around patient care, we will proactively look at those processes here. We have so many eyes and ears on the organization.''