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Illinois' hospital patient safety ranking drops Fewer hospitals in the state earned an A grade than in previous issues of a key industry survey. See who's down, who's up, and who scored straight As.

Crain's Chicago Business

Wednesday, May 15, 2019  |  Column  |  Carolina Gonzalez

Hospitals, Health Facilities Planning Board (48)

Fewer hospitals in the state earned an A grade than in previous issues of a key industry survey. See who's down, who's up, and who scored straight As.

Illinois hospitals didn't score as well on patient safety this season.

The state dropped one spot, to No. 14 from No. 13, according to the Leapfrog Group's spring 2019 Hospital Safety Grade. Leapfrog is a non-profit watchdog organization that assesses patient safety at acute care hospitals, not including children's hospitals, across the country twice a year.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital fell from an A grade back to a B after improving last year, while Rush University Medical Center got a B for the second season.

Forty-two Illinois hospitals got the highest grade for patient safety; 30 earned a B; 33 got a C; and five got a D.

Illinois’ drop is due to fewer hospitals in the state achieving an A grade than in previous seasons, said Erica Mobley, director of operations at Leapfrog.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital improved its letter grade last spring to an A, but fell back to a B grade this time around.

"We appreciate the ongoing efforts by Leapfrog to improve the usefulness and accessibility of information for consumers," Megan McCann, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said in an email. "We look forward to continuing dialogue between health systems and Leapfrog to evolve these resources to give consumers the most accurate reflection of quality, safety, and the patient experience.”

Among those who earned B letter grades was Rush University Medical Center, who fell last fall after earning straight As since the grading began in 2012.

“Quality is a continuous journey and we strive to be a national leader in delivering high quality care,” Charles L. Jolie, a spokesman for Rush University Medical Center, said in an email. “We do this by measuring and setting goals for many aspects of our care processes and our clinical outcomes.”

Rush University Medical Center’s B grade was partly due to errors in hospital claims data, Dr. Omar Lateef, CEO of Rush University Medical Center, as well as the chief medical officer of the hospital and the health system, said in a statement. He added: “We’ve made changes to guard against these mistakes in the data and expect that our next grade from Leapfrog will recognize the extremely high level of patient safety at Rush University Medical Center.”

While clerical errors happen, hospitals have “many opportunities” to review the data before it’s made public, Leapfrog President and CEO Leah Binder said in November.

There are five hospitals in Illinois that have maintained A grades for the past 7 years, which is how long the report has been around, including two owned by Northwestern and Rush. The five hospitals are Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington, OSF St. Mary Medical Center in Galesburg, Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora and the University of Chicago Medical Center.

The University of Chicago Medical Center is the only one in the city of Chicago with straight As.

The following 12 Illinois hospitals have received A grades the past three years or more:

  • AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center Hinsdale
  • AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center La Grange
  • Centegra Hospital ‐ McHenry 
  • Elmhurst Memorial Hospital 
  • HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital - Breese 
  • Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital - Winfield
  • Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital - Geneva
  • OSF St. Joseph Medical Center - Bloomington
  • OSF St. Mary Medical Center - Galesburg
  • Rush Copley Medical Center - Aurora
  • Silver Cross Hospital - New Lenox
  • University of Chicago Medical Center