Patient safety grades at hospitals across Washington State continued to fall in 2023, with the state now ranking 25th across the country for the percentage of hospitals receiving top marks, according to survey results released Monday by Leapfrog Group, which is led locally by the Washington Health Alliance.
Washington, which had ranked 12th in the fall of 2022, fell 13 places following the 2023 survey, as the portion of hospitals receiving lower marks continues to grow.
“Patient safety is critical. In Washington, where hospital care comes at a high cost, patients should feel assured that they not only receive high-quality care, but they are safe when they enter a facility,” said Sharon Eloranta, MD, the Washington Health Alliance’s Medical Director. “There are many factors that influence patient safety, and failing to rise to the standard in some can lead to serious complications or even death.”
In the fall 2023 scoring that includes 46 of the state’s hospitals, 13 hospitals received an ‘A’ grade; eight received a ‘B’ grade; 24 received a ‘C’ grade; and one received a ‘D’ grade. In total, there were six more hospitals this fall that received a ‘C’ grade.
To see the full grades for hospitals in Washington State, please visit hospitalsafetygrade.org.
Two hospitals in Washington State continue to be standard bearers for safety: Viriginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle and Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital Health Network in Tacoma. Both of which are being recognized nationally by Leapfrog as top hospitals for safety.
While the safety grade weighs more than 30 measures, there are several key metrics that have a substantial impact on the rating from the prevalence of hospital-acquired infections and intensive care unit staffing to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality PSI-90, which is a composite based on the volume and harm of adverse events.
A concerted focus on some of these areas, especially hospital-acquired infections, largely mitigated by hospital staff on the floor, could have a substantial positive impact on a hospital’s overall score.
“We know the pandemic caused tremendous strain on hospitals, but we are encouraged by the significant reduction in infections and applaud the hospitals in Washington that worked to achieve that. It is clear, however, that many hospitals have not fully rebounded, as shown by the declining patient experience measures,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “Despite the challenges, we commend the hospitals in Washington that are clearly putting patients first.”
While scores have been trending down, we believe if more hospitals complete the Leapfrog survey, the additional information could drive scores higher. Currently, about 40% of our state’s hospitals do not complete the survey, so their scores are derived from older data and do not contain certain aspects that only come from the survey such as hand hygiene and effective communication about medications.
The Washington Health Alliance continues to urge hospitals to complete the survey and thoroughly review measures of patient safety. We are committed to assisting any hospital as we work together toward a resilient health system that delivers high-quality, affordable care that prioritizes patient safety.