Why Fifteen Illinois Hospitals Lost Their “A” Safety Rating Since 2016

The Leapfrog Group released their 2017 ratings from the annual Hospital Safety Grade Report. Unfortunately, fifteen Illinois hospitals have lost their ‘A’ rating since last year. What could this mean? Last year has been especially challenging for hospitals as they faced funding uncertainty due to Congressional efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare). Also, the Illinois budget crisis has meant hospitals have been paid slow, or in some cases have not been reimbursed for some of their services. These factors can impact hiring and staffing patterns in addition to other cost-cutting measures. For decades, hospitals have had to cope with managed care’s shrinking reimbursements while trying to maintain their level of care quality.

In releasing these safety grades, Leapfrog aims to reduce patient injury and fatalities related to hospital errors and poor safety practices. Because the report is so detailed, it offers facilities interested in Continuous Quality Improvements with specific markers to target. It is important to note that free standing pediatric hospitals, long term care facilities, and specialty centers (such as cancer treatment hospitals) are not included in Leapfrog’s annual Hospital Safety Grade Report.

This year, Illinois has 30 hospitals who received an A, down from 45 just last year. The Hospital Safety Grade Report “scores hospitals on how safe they keep their patients from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.” According to the Leapfrog Group, the focus is to bring patient safety information to the public and reduce the number of hospital mistakes and injuries, incidents that are responsible for 440,000 deaths each year.

Data is collected from hospital surveys, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and secondary sources, including the American Hospital Association’s Annual Survey. The hospitals letter grade was a reflection of their scores on twenty-seven markers of patient safety measures such as MRSA and CDiff infection rates (serious drug-resistant infections), medication errors, and falls. Within the rating factors, twelve are related to Process and Structural Measures (everything from ‘Hand Hygiene’ to ‘Identification and Mitigation of Risks and Hazards’), fifteen related to Outcome Measures (from MRSA and CDiff infections, all the way to death during surgery). ​ ​ ​

In the city of Chicago, several hospitals received an ‘A’ rating, including University of Chicago, Presence St. Mary & St. Elizabeth’s, Rush University and Presence Resurrection. Teaching hospital, Northwestern Memorial Hospital received a ‘B.’ Several suburban hospitals also received an ‘A’ rating, including Elmhurst Hospital, Rush Oak Park, and Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital.

The only ‘F’ rating received by a hospital in our state was Chicago’s Roseland Community Hospital, a local hospital that serves the Greater Roseland area. The hospital scored particularly low on preventing blood infections in ICU patients, as well as on how medications are ordered by physicians. The hospital either doesn’t use a computerized medication ordering system, isn’t using a well-designed system, or isn’t consistently and accurately using a computerized system.

Quality of staff training is also part of the rating system. Employees’ are interviewed about whether or not they know a safety policy or are aware of events that put patients at risk. The public has a right to know details about the safety practices of local hospitals. If you believe you or a loved one was the victim or negligence or malpractice call an attorney, like a medical malpractice lawyer Naperville IL relies on, today.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian for their insight into medical malpractice and personal injury.