Date: 6/8/2012

St. Catherine Hospital receives Top Grade in Patient Safety

As summer is approaching and school is out, students will be receiving report cards on achievements from this past semester. This week, hospitals across the country received grades as well.

St. Catherine Hospital has received an ‘A’ for patient safety in a new “Hospital Safety Score” report card issued by non-profit organization The Leapfrog Group.

“This recognition is a testament to the high level of commitment to our patients and their safety as well as the level of skills of our physicians, nurses and all staff who provide quality care on a day to day basis,” said St. Catherine Hospital CEO Jo Ann Birdzell.

Grading was conducted by The Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit organization using the collective leverage of large purchasers of healthcare to initiate breakthrough improvements in the safety, quality and affordability of healthcare for Americans.

The Hospital Safety Score was calculated under the guidance of The Leapfrog Group’s Blue Ribbon Expert Panel using publicly available data on patient injuries, medical and medication errors, and infections. U.S. hospitals were assigned an A, B, C, D or F for safety.

The grades are based on up to 26 patient safety measures, including nurse staffing levels, processes for preventing infection and medication errors, and the rates of patient injuries, bloodstream infections or surgical errors.

"The Leapfrog survey has found that St. Catherine Hospital provides excellent care in an efficient manner," said Craig Bolda, Chief Operating Officer. “We received this honor because day in and day out, St. Catherine Hospital staff maintains consistently high standards of patient care and safety.”

Leapfrog received input from experts in the field, including Dr. Lucian Leape, Harvard professor and chairman of a national patient safety institute named for him, Dr. Peter Pronovost of Johns Hopkins, and Dr. Ashish Jha, associate professor of health policy at Harvard School of Public Health.

For 2,651 hospitals, Leapfrog created a single letter grade from 26 different measures collected by Leapfrog or Medicare. They included hospitals’ adherence to safe practices, such as entering physician orders into computer records to avoid penmanship errors and removing catheters promptly to minimize the risk of infections. The grade was also based on hospitals’ records of mishaps, such as bed sores, infections and punctured lungs.

Leapfrog gave 729 hospitals an A grade, 679 hospitals a B and 1,111 hospitals a C. Another 132 hospitals were scored "Grade Pending," Leapfrog’s euphemism for below a C.

Leapfrog plans to introduce D’s and F’s when it updates the ratings in six months, but didn’t want to be too harsh in its first report, said Leah Binder, Leapfrog’s executive director.

"We designed this to capture the attention of the public," Binder said. "No one has ever given one individual score to most of the general hospitals in the country, including those that didn’t perform well." Ratings can be found at

Leapfrog’s information comes from two sources: its own surveys of hospitals that agree to participate, and data the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services culls from its billing records and posts on its Hospital Compare website.

Many on the panel consider Leapfrog’s grades "a really important step forward," because they simplify complex measurements into things that consumers can easily understand and digest. Numerous studies have found that consumers rarely use complex quality measurements when choosing hospitals, blunting the potential influence of resources like Hospital Compare.

The results are posted on a web site open to the patients and families, the public and employers and other purchasers of healthcare. It is the most complete picture available of a hospital’s quality and safety. The web site is