August 5, 2019

Are Low-Rated Michigan Hospitals a Growing Risk to Patients?

Hospitals in Michigan and across the country are graded each year by the Leapfrog evaluation system, which is an independent non-profit organization with a mission of insuring the safety and quality hospital practices. The lawyers specializing in medical malpractice suits have come to rely on this yearly report to identify strengths and weaknesses in any particular hospital.

The Leapfrog system evaluates hospitals on such factors as errors, accidents, injuries, and infections. Their grading levels are “A,” for an excellent hospital and the letters “B,” “C,” “D,” and “F.” for lower performing hospitals. In May of 2019, the Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan received an “F “rating. This is cause for concern as all other hospitals in Michigan received better grades. Michigan ranks number 22 in A-rated hospitals in the country.

What is Leapfrog?

In 1998, a group of hospital doctors and administrators sat around after dinner and discussed the need to find a way to improve patient care in hospitals. They were aware of many problems from their own experiences, and they saw the need to do something about it. In 1999, a report entitled To Err Is Human was published detailing that over 98,000 patients die every year due to hospital errors and accidents. This number is higher than other deaths in the country due to motor vehicle accidents, cancer, and AIDS. Hospital deaths did not receive the public attention, and therefore, there was the need for this report.

To Err is Human did not point the finger at the doctors, nurses, and the staff at the hospitals, but instead focused on the systems and practices that caused errors and accidents to occur. The book is composed of a group of case studies that highlight the errors that occur within a system and that the reason for not reporting these errors may lie in the possibility of more claims of liability for the hospital. It was necessary to transcend these limitations to make hospitals safer.

Leapfrog launched a nationwide survey in 2001 that took into consideration three main points. They asked if the hospital had a computerized Physician order, whether the Intensive Care Units were staffed appropriately, and whether the hospital had the surgical volume to be able to perform certain high-risk operations. By 2012, the Leapfrog Group published the Leapfrog Safety Grade, and today over 2,000 hospitals voluntarily participate in the annual survey.

Benefits to Low-Rated Hospitals

In 2019, in all states, about 160,000 lives were lost due to errors and accidents in hospitals. However, that is an improvement from 2016 when there were 205,000 similar deaths. This statistic indicates that there has been an improvement in the systems and procedures that hospitals use to care for patients and may also be a sign that even if a hospital is rated low on the Leapfrog scale that those that are working hard to improve the systems are being successful.

In the spring of 2019, there were 81 hospitals graded in Michigan. Of the 81, 26 earned an “A,” 29 earned a “B,” 25 earned a “C,” zero earned a “D,” and 1 earned an “F.” Lawyers specializing in medical malpractice at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. are aware of these numbers, and if there is a problem, the results will be included in any malpractice lawsuit. Unfortunately, even the “A” rated hospitals are not perfect, and if there is a situation where the hospital’s systems were at fault, then the recourse may be litigation.

The Leapfrog group consults with the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality at John Hopkins Medicine to update its findings on patient deaths due to accidents, errors, and injuries. Researchers have found that when they compare hospitals rated at “D,” and “F,” to “A” rated hospitals, there is a 92% higher chance that there will be a death at the lower rated hospitals.

Final Thoughts

Terry L. Cochran, Trial Lawyer, and Ellen E. Kroll, Trial Lawyer and Registered Nurse have the experience and expertise to make sure that if there is medical malpractice and you are a victim, they will work hard to secure your compensation. Contact our law firm at (1-866-MICH-LAW) 1-866-642-4529 for a free consultation.

Ms. Barry is studying Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. She has won multiple awards both for her persuasive and creative writing and has written extensively on the topics of medical malpractice law, personal and birth injury law, product liability law. When she’s not researching and writing about these topics, she edits a literary magazine and tutors students at Penn’s writing center.

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