Report: Minnesota Outperforms Nation For Hospital Safety

Report: Minnesota Outperforms Nation For Hospital Safety

Less than one-third of hospitals got A’s nationally. Did your local hospital get a passing grade?

Picking the right hospital can be a matter of life or death for patients. For employers, sending their workers to the right hospital can be a matter of getting someone back on the job quickly or posting an open position on a job board.

That’s the lesson from the spring 2016 hospital safety grades published by The Leapfrog Group, the Washington-based employer coalition focused on the quality and safety of care. The group posted safety grades for the 2,571 hospitals nationwide that voluntarily report data on 30 measures of patient safety to the organization for analysis. Grades are determined by how well the hospitals scored on the 30 different measures of care, which include such items as infections, falls and foreign objects left inside patients after surgery.

Of the hospitals graded nationwide, 798 (31 percent) got A’s, 639 (25 percent) got B’s, 957 (37 percent) got C’s, 162 (6 percent) got D’s and 15 (less than 1 percent) got F’s.

Thirty-eight of Minnesota’s 137 hospitals participate in The Leapfrog Group’s program and voluntarily submit patient safety data to the organization for analysis and grading. The 38 hospitals overall received much higher grades than hospitals did nationally. Some 21 (55 percent) got A’s, nine (24 percent) got B’s, seven (18 percent) got C’s, one (3 percent) got a D and none of the participating Minnesota hospitals got an F.

Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis received the lone D, and Cs were handed out to:

  • Albert Lea Medical Center-Mayo Clinic Health System, Albert Lea
  • Fairview Lakes Regional Health Care, Wyoming
  • Fairview Ridges Hospital, Burnsville
  • Mankato Hospital-Mayo Clinic Health System, Mankato
  • Sanford Bemidji Medical Center, Bemidji
  • St. Luke’s Hospital, Duluth
  • University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview-West Bank Campus, Minneapolis

The Leapfrog Group also released an analysis of avoidable death rates at hospitals based on the grades. The analysis—performed by Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality—calculated avoidable death rates using 15 of the 30 patient safety measures. Of the 15, the one with the highest mortality rate was a hospital-acquired Clostridium Difficile, or C. diff, infection, which resulted in 23 percent of patients dying. On the low end was a foreign object left inside a patient after surgery, which resulted in just a little over 2 percent of patients dying. 

The avoidable death rate at A hospitals was 5.13 per 1,000 admissions, 5.56 per 1,000 admissions at B hospitals, 6.93 per 1,000 admissions at C hospitals and 7.68 per 1,000 admissions at D and F hospitals. Hence, a patient who got care at a C hospital had a 35 percent higher risk of avoidable death than if the patient had gone to an A hospital, according to the analysis.

“If hospitals with a grade lower than an A are able to achieve the safety performance of A hospitals, we estimate more than 33,000 patient lives could be saved,” the researchers said.

The takeaway for patients is to choose wisely when they have a choice of hospitals. The takeaway for employers is incenting workers directly or through their health plans to use better hospitals.

The 21 Minnesota hospitals that earned an A for patient safety were:

  • Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis
  • Cambridge Medical Center, Cambridge
  • Douglas County Hospital, Alexandria
  • Essentia Health St. Mary’s-Detroit Lakes, Detroit Lakes
  • Essentia Health Stain Mary’s Medical Center, Duluth
  • Essentia Health-Saint Joseph’s Medical Center, Brainerd
  • Essentia Health-Virginia, Virginia
  • Fairview Southdale Hospital, Edina
  • Fairview University Medical Center Mesabi, Hibbing
  • Grand Itasca Clinic and Hospital, Grand Rapids
  • Lake Region Healthcare, Fergus Falls
  • Mayo Clinic Health System, Red Wing
  • Mayo Clinic Hospital-Rochester Methodist Campus, Rochester
  • Mayo Clinic Hospital-Rochester Saint Marys Campus, Rochester
  • Mercy Hospital, Coon Rapids
  • Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital, St. Louis Park
  • Ridgeview Medical Center, Waconia
  • St. Cloud Hospital, St. Cloud
  • St. Francis Regional Medical Center, Shakopee
  • United Hospital, St. Paul
  • Woodwinds Health Campus, Woodbury