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Pittsburgh hospitals ranked high in patient safety

Pittsburgh and Allegheny County hospitals do very well in a new report card on hospital safety , but like every report card, there are a couple of "need improvements." A coalition of large private and public healthcare benefits purchasers who call themselves Leapfrog rated hospitals nationwide. All but two on this end of the state earned "A's," and none of the 25 worst hospitals Leapfrog found are in the Keystone State. The survey is intended to point out hospitals where patients are at risk from preventable infections, injuries, medical and medication errors.

Leapfrog focuses on patient safety. Some of the things they look for include objects left in patients after surgery, preventable infections, pressure sores, Intensive care unit staffing, and post-operative care that meets best-practices standards. Two University of Pittsburgh Medical Center facilities didn't make the top grade. UMPC Presbyterian Shadyside earned a "B" and UMPC Passavant got a "C." Presbyterian had slightly higher rates of serious pressure ulcers and falls than the "average" hospital. Pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis, and accidental cuts or tears during medical procedures were almost twice the norm. Presbyterian's biggest hit was against its Intensive Care Unit, which earned 5 points out of a possible 100 for physician staffing.

UMPC Passavant had similar problems with falls and pressure ulcers, and deaths from serious but treatable complications after surgery were twice as high as the "A-level" facilities. Pulmonary embolish and deep vein thrombosis were higher than average, but accidental cuts and tears were twice the average and 10 times higher than the best hospitals. ICU staffing scores were the same as Presbyterian.

Of the worst performers, with "F's" for patient safety, Chicago leads the nation with four -- Jackson Park Hospital and Medical Center, Loretto Hospital, Norwegian American Hospital and Roseland Community Hospital. Perhaps the most surprising name on the list is the University of California Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Leapfrog's patient safety rating is an embarrassing "F." In a statement, the hospital faulted the survey methodology, and claimed that inconsistency in rating systems make assessments like these unreliable.

Source: Medscape News, "25 hospitals get failing grade on safety by quality group," Robert Lowes, Nov. 29, 2012

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