Do You Know Your Hospital’s Safety Grade?

By Peter DePaolis

Hospital Safety Attorney Serving D.C., Maryland, and Virginia Residents

All hospitals are graded based on health and safety, but how often do patients read the report cards of their local hospitals?

If you read yours, you would know that no hospital in the D.C. area received an A grade. Worse, two hospitals were given F’s.

According to the report from NBC News, D.C. hospitals now rank last in the nationwide grading – especially when it comes to avoiding medical errors, infections, and injuries. Its neighbor, Virginia, has the highest rank with 60 percent of hospitals in that state receiving an A grade from the national health grader, Leapfrog. There were 13 hospitals in Virginia close to the D.C. border with A grades. No Maryland hospitals in the area received F grades and one had an A. Comparatively speaking, this makes it evident that the D.C. healthcare system needs significant work.

What Were the Grades Given to Hospitals Near Fairfax, VA?

Virginia has a stellar report card when it comes to patient safety and health, while D.C. now ranks the lowest in the country.

In Virginia, the following hospitals received an A grade from Leapfrog:

  • Fauquier Hospital
  • Inova Fair Oaks Hospital
  • Inova Loudoun Hospital
  • Inova Mount Vernon Hospital
  • Mary Washington Hospital
  • Novant Health UVA Health System Culpeper Medical Center
  • Novant Health UVA Health System Prince William Medical Center
  • Sentara RMH Medical Center
  • Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center
  • Stafford Hospital
  • Virginia Hospital Center
  • Warren Memorial Hospital
  • Winchester Medical Center

No hospitals in Virginia received an F grade.

What Were the Highest-Ranking Hospitals in Washington, DC?

As stated previously, no hospital received an A grade – but Sibley Memorial Hospital did receive a B. This was the highest-ranking hospital in the area.

Those that received an F grade from Leapfrog include:

  • George Washington University Hospital
  • Howard University Hospital
  • United Medical Center

Others received the C and D grade rating.

Why Does a Safety Grade Matter?

Hospital safety grades are essential, because they tell patients where they should go for their next surgery, and help patients pick the right providers based on which hospitals they have privileges in.

A safety grade from Leapfrog gives more than just a grade – in fact, it goes into detail about what made the hospital fail based on patient safety and risk of infection.

Based on the Fall 2017 grading system, Leapfrog currently ranks Rhode Island, Maine, Hawaii, Idaho, and Virginia in their top list for the safest hospitals.

The hospital survey results are for consumers, investors, and even potential practitioners. Those interested in working at a local area hospital may want to know the recent grades and see what risks they would face working in a specific facility.

Some benefits to having hospital ratings performed by an independent, third-party include:

  • Highlighting the best performing hospitals in the region.
  • Helping health plans find high-value care and identify better partnerships for improved health care rates.
  • Educating consumers on the safety of local hospitals.
  • Helping purchasers and employers find better hospitals for their staff.
  • Aiding employees and team members to find where they need to improve to help boost patient safety and health.

What Is Patient Safety?

Leapfrog assesses hospitals on patient safety. This is an assessment on how well a hospital protects their patients from errors, accidents, infections, and other injuries that are otherwise preventable with proper protocols.

Most hospitals are good at protecting their patients from unnecessary harm, but others are not. Therefore, it is good for patients to know what hospitals put their health and safety first.

Nearly 440,000 people die each year in hospitals from preventable injuries and accidents. Therefore, all hospitals should put patient safety as a high priority – ensuring that their facility is free from unnecessary risks.

Top Errors Made in Local Hospitals

Medical errors happen daily in the United States. While many do not result in a catastrophic injury or death, there are some that can lead to unnecessary deaths. In fact, 722,000 people develop an infection during a hospital stay in the United States, and approximately 75,000 die from those infections – most of which are preventable.

Common injuries that occur in the hospital setting include:

  • Falls – Falls are still a medical mistake in the hospital. Hospitals must take steps to reduce these falls and ensure that patients are appropriately assisted from their beds and walking around the hospital. Falls can lead to traumatic brain injuries, internal organ damage, and fractures.
  • Antibiotic Errors – Antibiotics are used for patients more than they should be. These antibiotic overloads are the leading cause of the “superbug” illnesses that are resistant to multiple antibiotics – and are therefore becoming harder to treat. In fact, patients who are given too many antibiotics are at higher risk for developing C. diff, which is a dangerous and deadly infection.
  • Medication Errors – Another common error in the hospital is drug errors. These errors can include giving too much or too little of a medication, or giving the wrong drug to a patient. Other times, patients are not properly monitored after medications have been administered.
  • Too Much Bed Rest – Another injury that might not seem like an injury is lying in bed too much. The human body cannot heal correctly when it is not able to move around and circulate. Also, staying in bed for too long puts a patient at higher risk for blood clots and bed sores. When hospitals have inadequate nursing staff or medical assistants to ensure patients get up and out of bed, these patients could be left sitting in bed for hours or days.

Injured in a Hospital?

If you or a loved one was injured in a hospital due to negligent care, inadequate staffing, an unnecessary infection, or another form of malpractice, speak with an attorney today from Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP.

Schedule your consultation now by calling one of our three office locations, or you can contact us online with your questions.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.