Report: R.I. ranks No. 7 in Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade with 3 A ratings

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island has fallen from third to seventh among 50 states and the District of Columbia since spring, with three out of seven hospitals receiving A ratings in the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade fall report released Thursday.

The safety grade was begun in 2012 by The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit aimed at driving quality, safety and transparency in the United States health system. The safety grade rates how well hospitals protect patients from preventable medical errors, injuries and infections. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade assigns A, B, C, D and F letter grades to hospitals nationwide.

State rankings were based on the ratio of A-rated hospitals to the total number of hospitals reviewed by Leapfrog in each state. The A-graded Rhode Island hospitals were Newport Hospital, South County Hospital and The Miriam Hospital.

Of the seven hospitals ranked in the Ocean State, Rhode Island Hospital, which received an A rating in the spring and fell to a C rating, was the only hospital to see a ratings decline. Landmark Medical Center maintained its B rating from the spring, while Kent Hospital and Westerly Hospital maintained C ratings.

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Rhode Island Hospital rated below average on preventing: infections involving Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, a bacterium that can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite and fever; blood infections; urinary tract infections; dangerous bed sores; and surgical-site infections after colon surgery. The hospital also rated below average for preventing patient falls, communication with doctors and overall responsiveness of hospital staff.

In Massachusetts, which maintained its fourth-place national ranking, five hospitals in Bristol County were rated, including St. Anne’s Hospital and Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, Morton Hospital in Taunton and Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro.

St. Anne’s received an A rating, Charlton Memorial, St. Luke’s and Morton each received a B rating and Sturdy Memorial received a C rating.

St. Anne’s, which has received an A rating each year since the system began in 2012, is one of 42 hospitals in the country to earn that distinction.

“Leapfrog’s Hospital Safety Grades recognize hospitals [such as] Saint Anne’s that focus on advancing patient safety. This ranking provides an important resource for patients, and a benchmark for hospitals, to determine how care at one hospital compares to others in a region,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “Hospitals that earn an A Hospital Safety Grade deserve to be recognized for their efforts in preventing medical harm and errors.”

Charlton Memorial and St. Luke’s each fell from an A in the spring to a B, while Morton maintained its B rating and Sturdy Memorial fell from an A to a C.

Sturdy Memorial rated below average for preventing blood infections, leaving dangerous objects in patients’ bodies, and preventing collapsed lung, serious breathing problems, blood clots, accidental cuts and tears, and dangerous bed sores.

Together, Newport Hospital, South County Hospital, The Miriam Hospital and Saint Anne’s Hospital are among 855 hospitals across the United States to be awarded an A in the fall 2018 update of grades.

“Lifespan is pleased to learn that Newport Hospital and The Miriam Hospital once again received the top grade in the Leapfrog survey. The survey is one of several national quality and safety improvement tools that we use to compare our performance on various aspects of care and identify areas for improvement,” Lifespan Corp. spokesman David Levesque said of the rankings in a statement. “Steps are underway at Rhode Island Hospital to address the specific areas referenced in the survey.”

Rob Borkowski is a PBN staff writer. Email him at