Triangle hospitals get high scores in safety and quality

Triangle hospitals received top grades in a biannual report on safety and quality conducted by the nonprofit group Leapfrog.

Five hospitals in the region were awarded an A and three received a B grade based on patient safety, infection rates and other measures.

In all, 43 of the state’s 78 hospitals received an A, propelling North Carolina to fifth place nationwide for safety from 19th place in 2013. The Leapfrog survey applied 30 measures of publicly available safety data to more than 2,600 hospitals nationwide, about a third of which received an A.

In the Triangle, Leapfrog awarded a B to Johnston Health and to both campuses of WakeMed Health & Hospitals in Raleigh and Cary. Each of the following received an A: UNC Hospitals, UNC Rex Hospital, Duke University Hospital, Duke Raleigh Hospital and Duke Regional Hospital.

Only 15 hospitals in North Carolina received a C and just one got a D.

The D went to Davis Regional Medical Center in Statesville. Davis merited top scores for avoiding problems in several areas – dangerous objects left in patient’s body, air or gas bubble in blood, and surgical site infection after colon surgery – but the hospital also did not have information for scoring other key areas, including death from treatable serious complications.

Davis scored just 5 out of a 100 in areas where Triangle hospitals excelled: doctors ordering medications through a computer, and specialty trained doctors caring for ICU patients.

Davis scored 41.18 out of a 100 for lacking enough qualified nurses.

Triangle hospitals scored very high or had perfect scores in those areas, as well as error prevention, handwashing and safety training.

In measures of infections, bed sores and other complications, Triangle hospitals received varied scores.

The Leapfrog grading system is based on numerical points that are converted into a composite letter grade.

Leapfrog is a voluntary assessment program that uses data from its own surveys and from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

John Murawski: 919-829-8932, @johnmurawski