Hospital ranking shows that Pennsylvania lags behind in safety

A study ranked Pennsylvania’s hospitals 31st in the nation for safety, with some receiving D and F grades.

A recent ranking of hospitals across the United States shows that Pennsylvania has a lot of work to do towards making its health care facilities safe for patients. According to the Phoenixville Patch, the ranking shows that on a state-by-state level Pennsylvania’s hospitals rank 31st overall for safety. Furthermore, the detailed rankings give many Pennsylvania hospitals, including in Pittsburgh, poor grades for patient safety. The ranking comes as concerns about the transparency of how medical errors are reported in Pennsylvania are being raised.

Where Pennsylvania ranks

The ranking by LeapFrog places Pennsylvania in the 31st position in the country for overall hospital safety. Hawaii took the top spot in the list. The study looked at 2,633 hospitals across the country, giving each a letter grade from A to F. The rankings were based on medical errors, accidents, injuries and infections at individual hospitals. A hospital that received a B ranking meant that patients there had a nine percent higher chance of avoidable death than a patient at an A-ranked hospital. For patients at C-ranked hospitals, that risk increased to 35 percent, while at D and F hospitals it went up to 50 percent.

While quite a few hospitals, including St. Clair Hospital in Pittsburgh, did receive A grades, many others fell short. In Pittsburgh alone, Allegheny General received a D grade, while Western Pennsylvania, UPMC Passavant and UPMC St. Margaret received C grades. The only hospital in Pennsylvania to receive an F grade – and one of only 20 hospitals in the country to receive an F – was Ohio Valley General Hospital in Mckees Rocks.

Transparency questioned

The relatively poor rankings of Pennsylvania’s hospitals come after concerns were raised in the media about patient access to medical error records. As the Pocono Record reports, while Pennsylvania collects records about patient harm, it does not allow the public to access information about where incidents of such harm take place. So although in 2015 alone there were 253 deaths in the state where a medical professional may have been responsible, where those deaths took place remains a secret.

That sort of secrecy is designed to encourage doctors and health care workers to come forward with reports about medical errors without fear of repercussions. However, that lack of transparency is being called into question given both the danger medical errors pose to the general population and the relatively poor rankings Pennsylvania’s hospitals receive in terms of safety.

Medical malpractice law

Medical malpractice cases are extremely complex, which is why anybody who may have been harmed by a medical professional’s potential neglect or recklessness should contact a medical malpractice attorney today. An experienced attorney can help injured patients understand what options are available to them, including possibly pursuing financial claims to help cover the physical, emotional, and financial toll of their injury.