Here’s how Memorial Hospital Belleville and other facilities were rated in The Leapfrog Group’s safety grades.

Here’s how Memorial Hospital Belleville and other facilities were rated in The Leapfrog Group’s safety grades.

Here’s how Memorial Hospital Belleville and other facilities were rated in The Leapfrog Group’s safety grades.

Provided

Dangerous blood clots, infections and safe medication administration were cited as areas of concern at some Belleville area hospitals this spring, according to a watchdog report released May 10.

The Leapfrog Group is a nonprofit organization that provides ratings and safety data for hospitals and it recently released ratings for nearly 3,000 hospitals across the country.

Staffing issues have affected many U.S. hospitals this year as health care workers leave the profession due to the pandemic and related mental health struggles. While burnout happens everywhere, it’s especially pronounced in the medical field, as demonstrated in a survey by the American Organization for Nursing Leadership.

Belleville hospitals have acutely felt the negative effects of staffing shortages, as Memorial Hospital Belleville and Gateway Regional Medical Center both received the lowest score given to any hospital for the measure of specialized ICU doctor training.

HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital had the highest grade among the included Belleville hospitals, but still had issues with patient falls and injuries, one of the areas Leapfrog recommends weighing more heavily than others.

Another common theme in local hospital concerns was infection. C. diff infection, infection in the blood, urinary tract infections and sepsis infections after surgery were all identified as areas in which Belleville-area providers scored below average.

Here’s how local hospitals performed according to Leapfrog, including how to interpret ratings and which areas should be most heavily considered.

Belleville area hospital ratings

Memorial Hospital Belleville

Spring 2022 grade: C

Fall 2021: C

Spring 2021: C

Here are the areas in which Memorial Hospital Belleville scored below average this spring:

  • C. diff infection

  • Infection in the blood

  • Surgical wounds split open

  • Serious breathing problem

  • Harmful events (The hospital scored 0.01 points below average in this category.)

  • Dangerous blood clot

  • Safe medication administration

  • Specially trained doctors care for ICU patients (The hospital scored a 5 in this category, the lowest score given to any hospital.)

In a statement, BJC HealthCare, the hospital ownership group, said the facilities are focused on safety and BJC officials have “concerns” about the watchdog group’s analysis.

“Memorial Hospitals Belleville and Shiloh and BJC HealthCare are committed to patient safety, and we support efforts to make quality outcomes data available to patients and to the public. We encourage people to seek out data on Medicare’s Care Compare site and we are also committed to transparency by providing links to this information on the BJC website.

“The Leapfrog analysis is based on a methodology that is a composite of process and outcome measures, with most of the process data obtained from hospitals’ responses to a burdensome, self-reported survey,” the hospital stated. “We have concerns about relying on methodologies that utilize self-reporting on questionnaires, which in this case can carry a significant impact in the overall results. For these reasons, BJC HealthCare hospitals have never participated in the Leapfrog survey.

“We believe our approach – based on methodical study and careful ongoing evaluation of outcomes – is a more effective means of improving patient safety and that our rigorous discipline and process over the years has made a significant impact on improving quality of care. Memorial Hospitals Belleville and Shiloh are committed to providing the highest standard of care every day for every patient.”

Gateway Regional Medical Center

Spring 2022 grade: D

Fall 2021: D

Spring 2021: D

Here are the areas in which Gateway Regional Medical Center scored below average this spring:

  • C. diff infection

  • Accidental cuts and tears

  • Patient falls and injuries

  • Collapsed lung

  • Dangerous blood clot

  • Doctors order medications through a computer

  • Communication about medicines

  • Communication about discharge

  • Specially trained staff care for ICU patients (The hospital scored a 5 in this category, the lowest score given to any hospital.)

  • Communication with doctors

  • Communication with nurses

  • Responsiveness of hospital staff

Gateway Regional Medical Center staff said in an email statement this data does not accurately represent the facility.

“More than two years into an unprecedented worldwide pandemic, physicians and caregivers remain more dedicated than ever to patient safety and delivering the highest quality of care to all,” Gateway Regional Medical Center officials said. “Data used to compile this grade is anywhere from two to four years old. Leapfrog used an imputation model to estimate certain metrics, which does not give an accurate representation of our hospital.”

Anderson Hospital

Spring 2022 grade: C

Fall 2021: B

Spring 2021: B

Here are the areas in which Anderson Hospital scored below average this spring:

  • Infection in the urinary tract

  • Sepsis infection after surgery

  • Blood leakage

  • Collapsed lung

  • Dangerous blood clot

  • Doctors order medications through a computer

  • Safe medication administration

  • Specially trained staff care for ICU patients (The hospital scored a 5 in this category, the lowest score given to any hospital.)

Anderson Hospital had not provided a statement on Leapfrog’s score by presstime.

HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital

Spring 2022 grade: A

Fall 2021: A

Spring 2021: A

Here are the areas in which HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital scored below average this spring:

  • Kidney injury after surgery

  • Serious breathing problem

  • Patient falls and injuries

  • Falls causing broken hips

  • Collapsed lung

  • Dangerous blood clot

  • Safe medication administration

  • Staff work together to prevent errors

  • Effective leadership to prevent errors

HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital had not provided a statement on Leapfrog’s score by presstime.

Results were not available for Touchette Regional Hospital or Memorial Hospital East. Leapfrog’s website says the two hospitals did not respond to the self-reporting survey used to calculate ratings.

Information about Memorial Hospital Belleville was still available even though the hospital did not self-report because the watchdog group was able to find the relevant data through other means. Leapfrog says the majority of data not gathered through surveys is taken from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

How are hospital grades calculated?

Safety grades are calculated using up to 22 national safety measures from the Leapfrog survey and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The full methodology is available online and is peer-reviewed by the Journal of Patient Safety.

Grades are composed 50% by process and structural measures and 50% by outcome measures. The scoring scales differ by the chosen measure.

How should I use these scores?

Leapfrog emphasizes you should not refuse emergency care based on hospital ratings. The group intends the scores to be used when planning hospital events, such as childbirth, surgery referrals or chronic illnesses.

The areas you should pay most attention to when choosing a hospital include hand washing, infection in the blood and patient falls, Leapfrog’s website says.

You should also consider how far off your hospital was from the average for any given standard. When evaluating a hospital, you can see the highest and lowest scores given, which helps in weighing a value. The “below average” category can include hospitals that scored 0.01 points under goal, along with facilities with the lowest possible score.

For hospitals that responded to Leapfrog’s survey, there’s often information available about which areas the hospital has improved in and which areas are not going in the right direction.

A hospital being ungraded does not denote a lack of safety. Ratings are often unavailable for facilities that decline to self-report, as well as smaller providers, children’s hospitals, surgical centers and critical access hospitals.

Where can I find more hospital ratings?

Leapfrog allows you to search for hospitals by name, location or state. Here’s the search tool where you can find information about more hospitals.

This story may be updated to include statements from additional hospitals, should they be provided.

Meredith Howard is a service journalist with the Belleville News-Democrat. She is a Baylor University graduate and has previously freelanced with the Illinois Times and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.


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