Aging Options

Do you know your hospital’s safety score?

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The Leapfrog group released its latest safety scorecard for 2,619 American hospitals and most have seen an improvement since the initial scorecard the group published in June.  The group calculates the score using publicly available data about 11 outcome measures and 15 process measures including the frequency of blood line infections, falls, bedsores and consistency of care.  The aim of the scorecard is to provide individuals with tools they can use to make good choices about which hospital to use.  What isn’t pointed out very well in the article is that the data used is from 2011, a not unusual time frame to pull data from but it does suggest an error margin could presumably exist if hospitals are continuously working to improve an area.  If you have questions about a hospitals safety record, talk to your doctor.

In the Seattle/Tacoma area, nine hospitals received a score of A.  Seven hospitals received a C, the lowest score for the area.  To put that into context, Valley Medical Center, which rated a C had just shy of 111 deaths per 1000 discharges.  Northwest Hospital and Medical Center, which received an A had a score of 89.74, still high compared to the best performing hospital at 54.9 but significantly lower than Valley Medical.

You have two choices when it comes to health. You can be your own advocate by becoming knowledgeable about health issues or hire someone such as a geriatric care manager to do it for you.  Or, you can hope.

Leapfrog is a national advocate in hospital transparency.  Hospitals voluntarily participate in the annual survey.  To read the original article by Jordan Rau of Kaiser Health News go here.

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