Making the grade

UPHS-Marquette awarded ‘B’ in Leapfrog report

The Medical Office Building at the UP Health System-Marquette campus along West Baraga Avenue in Marquette is pictured. (Journal file photo)

MARQUETTE — UP Health System-Marquette has received a “B” grade in a report released today by the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., that biannually grades over 2,600 U.S. general acute-care hospitals in an aim to improve health care quality and safety for patients.

This is the second “B” grade in a row that the hospital has received, as it also received a “B” in the spring Leapfrog Group report. The hospital received “A” grades in fall and spring 2018; “C” grades in fall and spring 2017, as well as fall 2016. It received a “D” grade in spring 2016.

UP Health System-Bell was not listed in the fall report released today, but UP Health System-Portage received its third “A” grade in a row from Leapfrog.

In Michigan as a whole, a total of 78 hospitals were graded, with 32 earning an “A,” 21 earning a “B,” 18 earning a “C,” seven earning a “D,” and none earning “F” grades.

Hospitals in Michigan have earned higher grades in the most recent report as compared to the spring grades, with just over 41% of hospitals earning an “A,” up nearly 9 percent from spring 2019. Michigan ranks 13th in the nation for the percentage of hospitals with “A” grades.

UPHS-Marquette officials could not be reached for comment before press time this morning.

The letter grading system is based on a hospital’s ability to “protect patients from avoidable errors, injuries, accidents and infections,” a press release from the Leapfrog Group states.

The grade comes from quality and safety data hospitals voluntarily submit to Leapfrog’s survey, as well as data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the American Hospital Survey. A safety grade is also calculated for hospitals that do not respond to the survey, relying on “publicly available data from numerous secondary sources,” Leapfrog officials said.

Of the 28 metrics used to assess the hospital, UPHS-Marquette received “above average” scores in 13 categories, “below average” scores in 14 categories and an “average” score for one category, according to the fall report.

In this year’s spring report, the hospital received “above average” marks in 16 measures, “below average” marks in 11 measures and an “average” mark in one measure.

Some of the most important metrics are hand washing, infection in the blood, and patient falls and injuries, Leapfrog Group officials said. UPHS-Marquette received “below average” scores in those three categories.

The spring report indicated the hospital received the top possible score in hand washing, an “average” score in infection in blood and a “below average” score for patient falls and injuries, according to the Leapfrog Group.

This fall, the hospital received the top possible scores in the following categories: effective leadership to prevent errors; enough qualified nurses; specially trained doctors caring for intensive care unit patients; air or gas bubble in blood; and dangerous object left in patient’s body.

However, the hospital received “below average” scores in three of five metrics related to infections; three of seven metrics related to problems with surgery; four of six metrics related to practices to prevent errors; two of four metrics related to safety problems; and two of six metrics related to doctors, nurses and hospital staff.

The release of this fall’s results coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Institue of Medicine’s report titled “To Err Is Human,” which revealed that nearly 100,000 lives are lost every year “due to preventable medical errors,” the press release states.

“Twenty years after ‘To Err Is Human,’ we are still devastated by tens of thousands of needless deaths every year from medical errors,” Leapfrog Group CEO and President Leah Binder said in a press release. “We are seeing progress, with 45,000 fewer deaths from the hazards included in the Safety Guide. Still, much more needs to be done. Transparency is the first step.”

The Economic Alliance for Michigan — a nonprofit group consisting of some of the state’s largest employes and unions — works in conjunction with the Leapfrog Group in Michigan, officials said.

“Choosing a hospital with a higher safety grade is vital because hospital mistakes are costly for patients and employers,” Economic Alliance for Michigan President Bret Jackson said in a press release. “The EAM and our members are committed to collaborating with hospitals across the state to ensure patients are receiving the safest possible care.”

To view the full report and learn more about the Leapfrog Group, visit hospitalsafetygrade.org.

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. Her email address is cbrown@miningjournal.net.