Maryland has some of the best medical facilities in the nation. But not every hospital is up to par. In the biannual Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades Report released last week, Maryland hospitals ranked 30th across the country for health and safety. While ten facilities received an impressive A-rating for their high standards of patient care, the majority of hospitals received average scores, and five walked away with an unsatisfactory D.
Over 400,000 people die every year due to medical errors, many of which were preventable. Hospitals have an obligation to prioritize the health and safety of their patients and even simple lapses in safety protocols can have a disastrous impact.
When hospitals are lacking in safety measures, patients should be made aware. Marylanders can take the first step in preventing unnecessary medical errors by knowing which local hospitals to trust with their health and which to avoid in the case on an emergency.
Where Maryland Hospitals Stand
The Leapfrog Group reviewed 40 hospitals in Maryland this spring, assigning each a grade based on their overall performance in preventing unnecessary medical errors and injuries. These were the hospitals reviewed and how they scored:
- Anne Arundel Medical Center, Annapolis
- Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Baltimore
- Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore
- MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, Leonardtown
- Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore
- Peninsula Regional Medical Center, Salisbury
- Suburban Hospital, Bethesda
- The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore
- University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center, La Plata
- University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center, Towson
- Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, Rockville
- Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital, Takoma Park
- Calvert Health Medical Center, Prince Frederick
- Carroll Health Center, Westminster
- Frederick Memorial Hospital, Frederick
- Garrett Regional Medical Center, Oakland
- Howard Country General Hospital, Columbia
- MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, Baltimore
- MedStar Montgomery Medical Center, Olney
- UM Baltimore Washington Medical Center, Glen Burnie
- Western Maryland Regional Medical Center, Cumberland
- Bon Secours Hospital, Baltimore
- Fort Washington Medical Center, Fort Washington
- MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, Baltimore
- MedStar Harbor Hospital, Baltimore
- MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, Clinton
- MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, Baltimore
- Meritus Medical Center, Hagerstown
- Northwest Hospital, Randallstown
- Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Baltimore
- Union Hospital, Elkton
- University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital, Havre De Grace
- University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore
- University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus, Baltimore
- University of Maryland Medical Center Chesapeake Medical Center, Bel Air
- Doctors Community Hospital, Lanham
- Holy Cross Germantown Hospital, Germantown
- Holy Cross Hospital, Silver Spring
- St. Agnes Hospital, Baltimore
- University of Maryland Prince George’s Hospital Center, Cheverly
Some Marylanders may notice that not all hospitals in the state made the list. Facilities that are excluded from the review include specialty hospitals (children’s hospitals and surgical centers) and critical access hospitals. Other data that could be missing includes statistics on smaller centers, such as military or veteran’s hospitals. These facilities currently lack the resources to provide data needed for a comprehensive review and Leapfrog experts are working on how to evaluate these hospitals better in the future.
Baltimore Hospital Areas of Need
When looking specifically at the hospitals in Baltimore, these facilities scored fairly well. Four of the ten A-rated hospitals in the state are located in Baltimore, as well as one B-rated facility. Baltimore hospitals who did not score well (seven C-rated and two D-rated facilities) are struggling to provide quality care across multiple safety measures.
When looking at the two hospitals who received a D-rating, these facilities scored below average in areas such as:
- Reducing the spread of MRSA infections;
- Reducing the speed of C.diff infection;
- Leaving dangerous objects in patient bodies;
- Surgical wound splits;
- Death from treatable complications;
- Patients acquiring serious breathing problems;
- Patients acquiring dangerous blood clots;
- Hand washing;
- Communication about medications;
- Communication about discharge;
- Staff working together to prevent errors;
- Tracking and reducing patient risks;
- Effective leadership to prevent errors;
- Having enough qualified nurses;
- Communication with doctors and nurses; and
- Responsiveness of hospital staff.
These mistakes are rarely ever intentional. Most of the time, hospitals have protocols in place to address these safety measures that are neglected or ineffective. Other times, hospitals may not have known they needed specific safety protocols and have been struggling to reduce the risks of medical errors in these areas with other failed interventions.
About The Grade
Since 2000, The Leapfrog Group has been dedicated to saving lives by reducing the number of hospital errors through education and transparency. By holding hospitals accountable for their actions, this nonprofit organization has noticeably increased hospital performance and guided facilities towards better safety solutions for their patients.
The hospital grades are derived by analyzing 28 hospital safety measures that keep patients safe from preventable harm. The measures are split into five categories for patients to compare easily, including:
- Problems with Surgery;
- Practices to Prevent Errors;
- Safety Problems; and
- Doctors, Nurses, & Hospital Staff.
Each measure is scored and given a below average, average, or above average marking for patients to easily compare hospitals in their area.
Become Your Own Advocate
We want our hospitals to provide the utmost quality care. Unfortunately, patients cannot solely rely on any medical facility to be perfect. Maryland patients must educate themselves on how to advocate for their health to reduce their risks of becoming a statistic.
In addition to checking out your local hospital’s Leapfrog Safety Grade, patients can take these preventive steps to help keep them safe at the hospital:
- Communicate often with your doctors and nurses to ensure you understand the plan for your care.
- Know which medications you are on and why.
- Ask questions when you have concerns and take notes throughout your hospital stay.
- Ask about the emergency plan your doctors will take if something goes wrong during your procedure.
- Whenever possible, have a loved one present as a second set of eyes monitoring your care.
- Do not be afraid to report concerning medical errors you see occurring with your care.
For more information on becoming your own health advocate, Leapfrog has a ton of patient resources to get you started.
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