Safety report ranks Colorado hospitals 10th in nation

· Oct. 29, 2014, 9:55 pm
Photo: University of Colorado Hospital doctors on rounds
Medical staff visit with a patient during their rounds at the University of Colorado Hospital.

Colorado ranks in the top 10 states for hospital safety, according to a new national report card. The non-profit Leapfrog Group released ratings Wednesday on 2,500 general hospitals, including 40 graded in Colorado.

Colorado ranked 10th with 38 percent of its hospitals earning "A" grades. Those hospitals included University of Colorado, Rose Medical Center and Centura Health's St. Francis Medical Center in Colorado Springs. 

To develop its Hospital Safety Score list, the Leapfrog Group looked at infections, accidents and injuries.

Nancy Griffith, with the Colorado Hospital Association, said hospitals here have been working to improve hospital safety in almost a dozen areas.

“Those projects range from looking at things like central line infections and surgical site infections to re-admissions and developments of blood clots after surgery," says Griffith.

Eleven Colorado hospitals received "Bs" and 13 received "Cs."  

One, Centura Health's St. Thomas More Hospital in Canon City, got a "D." The hospital received low marks in several categories, including correct use of antibiotics around surgery, fallen patients and training to improve safety and hand washing.  

In a statement, hospital spokeswoman Jillian Maes says as a small rural hospital, its score fell because it doesn't provide some categories of care, like cardiac surgery. She added the hospital's handling of certain infections would get high ratings, but because of the low number of people treated there, that isn't reflected in the survey.

According to the Leapfrog Group, statistics suggest more than 1,000 people nationwide die each day due to preventable hospital errors, with one in 25 contracting infections. 

Overall, the group says its seen improvement in hospitals since April 2014, specifically in areas like hand hygiene and doctors staffing in intensive care units. But the data shows a lack of progress regarding patient outcomes.

Hospital safety is drawing renewed scrutiny due to apparent missteps at a Texas hospital in diagnosing a patient with Ebola. That hospital, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, got an "A" grade on the Fall 2014 Hospital Safety Score, based on past safety performance.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of Colorado hospitals in the report. The correct number is 40, not 55. 

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