Local News

Florida Hospital scores an ‘A’ in safety

— Every time a Florida Hospital employee enters or leaves a patient’s room, the doctor, nurse or tech must wash his or her hands or use a sanitizer.

It’s not the most important of the 28 categories in the just-released Hospital Safety Score, but Sandi Bernardo sees hand sanitation as a complement to the others.

“That’s why it’s got its own category,” said Bernardo, the clinical informatic manager. She calls hand-wash monitors “secret shoppers.”

“They observe,” Bernardo said. “And they report back on who’s washing their hands and who’s not. It’s a simple thing, proven to prevent infections.” Florida Hospitals in both Sebring and Lake Placid scored a perfect 30 out of 30 in hand washing. Average hospitals scored 27.4.

The Leapfrog Group, an employer purchasing group which also helps hospitals leap forward in health care safety, rated 160 hospitals in the Sunshine State from “A” to “D.” Both Florida Hospital Heartland and Florida Hospital Lake Placid received “A” ratings. Spokeswoman Cathy Albritton said critical access hospitals like Florida Hospital Wauchula are rated separately, but Wauchula also was graded “A.”

Highlands Regional Medical Center was not rated.

“There are a few reasons why a hospital might not have a grade. First, the Leapfrog Group requires data on at least 14 measures for a hospital in order to calculate a Hospital Safety Score,” said Leapfrog spokeswoman Lauren Bercarich. “Many rural or small hospitals cannot report much data to the federal government because they were exempt from many of the measures.”

“Highlands Regional Medical Center is dedicated not only to service quality and patient safety,” said marketing director Susan Reed, “but also to an overall positive patient experience. While we do not participate in the LeapFrog study, we continually monitor our performance at a local level and are actively engaged in other national rating initiatives. As a Joint Commission accredited hospital, Highlands Regional Medical Center has received recognition for the past three years in a row as a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures.”

Other nearby hospitals: Winter Haven Hospital, B; Bartow Regional Medical Center, C; Lake Wales Medical Center, C; Baptist Health South Florida Baptist Hospital of Miami, A; Lakeland Regional Medical Center, B; Raulerson Hospital of Okeechobee, A; and Tampa General, C.

The first category, for instance, rates Florida Hospital Heartland on “Foreign Object Retained After Surgery.” The worst performing hospital rated 0.358, the best received a zero, and the average received 0.03. Heartland rated 0.083.

“Which is above average,” said Florida Hospital spokeswoman Cathy Albritton.

Heartland received perfect scores in eight of the 28 categories: air embolisms, bedsores, SSI colons, computerized prescriber order entries, leadership structures, teamwork training, identification and mitigation of risks and hazards, medication reconciliation, care of ventilated patients and hand hygiene.

Heartland scored below average in five categories: falls and trauma, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, collapsed lung due to medical treatment, accidental cuts or tears from medical treatment and ICU physician staffing.

However, Heartland will soon have one of the most advanced hospital ICU telesystems, Albritton said.

“A quality leap we have not been able to report on is tele-ICU,” Bernardo said. An ICU doctor, physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner who is certified in critical care medicine will be available 24 hours a day. When an ICU patient turns on his call light, both the nursing staff and the intensivist can turn on their television monitors and respond, Bernardo said.

Heartland also received a perfect score on computerized Prescriber Order Entry.

“Our expectation that all our physicians will input their own orders for their own patients,” Bernardo said. If, for instance, the doctor prescribes penicillin to a patient who is allergic patient, he will receive a computerized alert.

“People have to become educated consumers and choose their health care providers, and this is just another measurement,” Albritton said.

Leapfrog allows patients to compare hospitals. “It’s important for folks to know we’re transparent, that we’re willing to share this. We’re not perfect,” Bernardo said.

“That’s not realistic,” Albritton agreed.

“And it takes a village,” Bernardo said. “Everyone makes mistakes. Leapfrog is about how do you address those mistakes. How are you going to make that better? We have teams developed to that, and it’s typically the team involved in the mistakes. We recheck it to say, are we still improving?”



Find your hospital at www.hopsitalsafetyscore.org