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Consumer Reports Releases Hospital Safety Ratings

Last week we reported on a new hospital rating system seeking to simplify the process so that consumers were more easily able to integrate the ratings into their healthcare choices. The new new system was compiled by “Leapfrog” and consists of general letter grades for each facility: A, B C, D, F. Our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys understand that access to open, honest, and easy to digest information about hospital safety performance may be an important spur to get facilities to finally enact necessary changes to keep patients safe.

This week Consumer Reports released its own rankings of various hospitals. This is the first time that the respected magazine has ever compiled its own “best and worst” hospital list. A full list of the rankings, state-by-state, can be found at the Consumer Reports “Hospital Rating” website HERE.

Redorbit provided a summary of the list and the motivations behind its creation. For starters, the summary offers some scary news for local residents. According to the story, Sacred Heart Hospital in Chicago was listed as the “worst” medical facility in the entire United States. Of course it is important to delve into the specific of the ranking system to understand how that distinction was reached. Any way you slice it, however, it’s clear that the distinction is not one the facility is glad to receive.

The Process
The CR ratings were created following the collection of information on 1,100 different hospitals in 44 states. Interestingly, the list also included information from various interviews with doctors, nurses, patients, and others involved. All told six major factors were considered in the rankings: infections, patient return rates following discharge, hospital communication about safety issues, image testing over-use, complications, and fatality rates.

The Chicago hospital which found the bottom of the list apparently scored just 16 points out of a total of 100. One of the key problems, according to the article, was Sacred Heart’s bloodstream-infection rate, which was more than twice the national benchmark. As each Chicago medical malpractice lawyer has shared with patients, many hospital-acquired infections can be deadly. Those infections are often preventable when proper caregiving standards are met at all times.

One doctor heading the ratings group for Consumer Report summed up of Sacred Heart, “They got many of our lowest or close-to-lowest scores. So they’ weren’t preventing infections. These complications were happening. People [were] getting bed sores, falling. They had problems with doing two CT scans when one would suffice. There were a lot of things they could do better.”

Local patients should take the time to investigate these reports and understand the problem. That is especially true considering the issues still associated with medical malpractice and preventable errors. In 2010 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that various errors contributed to a staggering 180,000 deaths in Medicare patients alone. Add in the non-Medicare patients and it is clear that significant problems remains when it comes to ensuring patients receive the best care possible at all times.

No one should become a statistic because of the failure to receive reasonable medical care. The first step in stopping the problem is forcing these facilities to be accountable for those error and correct the problems.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

New Hospital Rating System

The Connection Between Money and Medical Care