Many Colorado hospitals miss top grade for patient safety

New website helps consumers check the record

By Ann Imse
Colorado Public News

Prompted by 180,000 unnecessary deaths per year in U.S. hospitals, a new listing of hospital safety scores finds most of the 33 rated in Colorado don’t make the top grade.

The Washington-based Leapfrog Group is dedicated to reducing deaths, infections and injuries in hospitals that should not have occurred. To put pressure on hospitals to reduce such incidents, a group of medical academics pored over data reported to Medicare by the 2,600 US hospitals, and then graded them.

Leapfrog director Leah Binder says about 400 people a day die from hospital infections, errors and accidents. In addition, about 1 million people are injured every year in hospitals.

The grades track such basics as whether hospitals failed to deliver proper medication in time – or at all, said Donna Marshall of the Colorado Business Group on Health. Other problems monitored include the level of nursing staff, giving the wrong blood, deaths from treatable complications, and post-surgery infections and breathing failure.

In Colorado, just 7 hospitals received A’s, 12 received B’s and 14 were given C’s. Details for each hospital can be found at http://hospitalsafetyscore.org/. The site was heavily used on Wednesday, its first day open to the public.

Failing grades of D or F were withheld. One hospital in Colorado – Exempla Lutheran in Wheat Ridge – fell in this category. The hospital received a “pending” grade. Marshall said reviewers are giving such hospitals time to improve before being labeled with a failing D or F grade. Calls to Exempla and several other Colorado hospitals were not immediately returned.

“I would have hoped we would have done better” in Colorado, said Marshall, whose group works with a number of hospitals to encourage them to improve, as part of the Leapfrog effort. But with this information now readily available, “we hope consumers will start to shop for care much more carefully.”

Several of the “A” grade hospitals are not in the heavily populated metro Denver region. They include the 49-bed Delta County Memorial Hospital on the Western Slope; St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction; and Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo.

Marshall said it was “outstanding” that the rural hospital in Delta “has such a dedication to excellence.” She also cited University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, noting that it receives “the sickest of the sick” in the state and yet maintained high marks, when academic medical centers elsewhere in the United States did not.

The study did not grade children’s and other specialty and small hospitals, because their work did not match that of the larger, general facilities.


Colorado A-grade hospitals
Centura Health-Porter Adventist Hospital
Delta County Memorial Hospital
Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo
HCA – Rose Medical Center in Denver
HCA – Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lonetree
St. Mary’s Hospital and Medical Center in Grand Junction
University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora

Colorado B-grade hospitals
Centura Health-St. Anthony Central Hospital in Lakewood
Denver Health Medical Center in Denver
Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette
Exempla St. Joseph Hospital in Denver
McKee Medical Center in Loveland
HCA – Medical Center of Aurora
Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland
North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley
Platte Valley Medical Center in Brighton
Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins
HCA – Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver
Sterling Regional MedCenter

Colorado C-grade hospitals
Boulder Community Hospital
Centura Health-Avista Adventist Hospital in Louisville
Centura Health-Littleton Adventist Hospital
Centura Health-St. Anthony North in Westminster
Centura Health-Penrose St. Francis Health Services in Colorado Springs
Centura St. Mary Corwin Medical Center in Pueblo
Centura Parker Adventist Hospital
Community Hospital in Grand Junction
Longmont United Hospital
Memorial Health System in Colorado Springs
HCA – North Suburban Medical Center in Thornton
St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco
HCA – Swedish Medical Center in Englewood
Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs

Grade “Pending”
Exempla Lutheran in Wheat Ridge

 

Comments are closed.

News

AP
October 30, 2014 | NPR · After the latest in a flurry of decisions on whether his lack of fluency in the Navajo language disqualifies him from the presidential ballot, Chris Deschene’s candidacy is now in limbo.
 

Adam Cole/NPR
October 30, 2014 | NPR · Explore the guts and glory of pumpkin science with Skunk Bear’s latest video.
 

AFP/Getty Images
October 30, 2014 | NPR · Angered at an impending vote to allow President Blaise Compaore to extend his 27-year-old rule, protesters also reportedly set fire to the ruling party’s headquarters in the capital, Ouagadougou.
 

Arts & Life

October 30, 2014 | NPR · Ready for a Halloween scare? Reviewer Etelka Lehoczky says these graphic novels and compilations — packed with creepy cults, alien monsters, gravediggers and ghosts — are just the ticket.
 

October 30, 2014 | NPR · Poet Galway Kinnell died Tuesday. His career spanned from the end of World War II to the present, earning him a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. Home in Vermont, Kinnell died from leukemia.
 

NPR
October 29, 2014 | NPR · The Mexican tradition celebrates the dead and welcomes their return to the land of the living once a year. Enticing them to make the trip is where the food, drink and musical offerings come in.
 

Music

Wikimedia Commons
October 30, 2014 | NPR · After composer Robert Schumann died, his Violin Concerto languished in a library — until a grandniece of the man he wrote it for got out her Ouija board.
 

Courtesy of the artist
October 29, 2014 | NPR · Joyce DiDonato — a Kansas native and lifelong Royals fan — happens to be one of the world’s greatest opera singers. Here’s what makes her so extraordinary.
 

Courtesy of the artist
October 29, 2014 | WFUV · With Marcus Mumford singing lead, a supergroup breathes new life into an old Bob Dylan lyric.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab