By Kim Jarrett | The Center Square
Vermont ranks 40th among the 50 states and District of Columbia in the Fall 2021 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade report, dropping from 20th place in the organization’s spring report.
The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit watchdog organization, releases hospital safety reports each year, one in the spring and one in the fall. The fall report assigns letter grades to 2,901 hospitals and is the largest one yet, according to the organization. The criteria include infection rates, falls and injuries. The fall report is the first one to include sepsis infections, according to the organization.
Rutland Regional Medical Center in Rutland received the only grade of A out of the six Vermont hospitals named in the report. The hospital also received an A grade in the spring report.
No Vermont hospitals received an F grade, but two received a grade of D.
Brattleboro Memorial Hospital received a D grade, a score the hospital also received in the spring report. Data was not available, or the hospitals did not respond to inquires about some measures.
Brattleboro Memorial received below-average scores for safe medication administration, nurse’s communication with patients, harmful events and Clostridium difficile, or C. Diff infections. These infections are bacteria that result in several symptoms, including diarrhea, pain and fever. C. Diff is sometimes spread through contaminated equipment or by health care providers who do not wash their hands thoroughly, according to the report.
Northwestern Medical Center in Saint Albans also received a D grade. The hospital received the same grade in the spring.
Northwestern Medical Center received the lowest score for C. Diff infections, and the scores also were below average for harmful events, dangerous bedsores and patient falls and injuries. The Leapfrog report also ranked Northwestern below average in the category “effective leadership to prevent errors.” Data was not available or not provided by the hospital in some categories, according to the report.
Three other Vermont hospitals — Berlin’s Central Vermont Medical Center, Bennington’s Southwestern Medical Center and the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington — all received B grades in the report.
The grades for the report are compiled by an expert panel of patient safety professionals with guidance from the Johns Hopkins Armstong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, according to information from Leapfrog.
“As the pandemic continues, we all have heightened awareness of the importance of hospitals in our communities and in our lives,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “It is critical that all hospitals put patient safety first. Now we have more information on more hospitals than ever before, so people can protect themselves and their families.”