Louisville Courier Journal
Published 6:49 PM EST Nov 7, 2019
A national nonprofit gave Jewish Hospital an F grade in its latest safety ratings, lowering it from the D the struggling facility consistently scored in previous rankings.
The Leapfrog Group released its fall 2019 safety grades this week, which rate hospitals across the U.S. on an A-F scale based on data that looks at how common certain common infections, problems with surgery and other safety issues are at each institution.
Jewish Hospital was officially sold to the University of Louisville this month and has been re-branded as U of L Health — Jewish Hospital.
Jewish Hospital has been losing money for several years, and U of L President Neeli Bendapudi has said it would have been shut down if the university hadn't stepped up to buy it.
U of L also acquired and re-branded Sts. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital, Jewish Hospital Shelbyville and other local health care facilities from KentuckyOne.
Jewish Hospital earned a D in each of the biannual rankings Leapfrog put out over the past three years.
It also got a D in spring 2019, but then its grade slipped to an F this time around.
Related: U of L officially owns Jewish Hospital. What happens next?
Jewish scored below average on some of Leapfrog's patient safety metrics, including the prevalence of:
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections
- Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infections
- Dangerous objects being left in a patient's body
- Death after surgery from "serious treatable complications"
- Dangerous blood clots
- Infections in the urinary tract
- Surgical site infections following colon surgery
Jewish performed above average on other metrics, including having enough qualified nurses on hand and a lower prevalence of dangerous bed sores or a collapsed lung among patients.
Meanwhile, U of L Hospital earned a D on the latest fall 2019 Leapfrog rankings — the same grade it has gotten over the past few years.
When Jewish received a D on Leapfrog's spring 2019 safety grade earlier this year, its former owner, KentuckyOne Health, said the ratings some of the organization's hospitals received didn't adequately reflect the complex nature of the patient cases they handled or the high-risk population they serve.
In the past, KentuckyOne and U of L both have pointed out that Leapfrog's methodology in calculating these grades includes older data that doesn't necessarily reflect more recent safety improvements.
Also: U of L renaming Jewish Hospital, Our Lady of Peace after purchase
U of L Health reiterated that in a statement Thursday, which noted that some of the information Leapfrog took into account dates back to early 2016, when U of L Hospital was being managed by KentuckyOne.
The university resumed control of U of L Hospital in mid-2017 and officially acquired Jewish and other Louisville-based KentuckyOne facilities on Nov. 1.
"Since 2018, U of L Hospital has reported almost perfect compliance with the Leapfrog Safe Practices," U of L Health's chief medical officer, Jason Smith, said in Thursday's statement. "We have reviewed our publicly reported data since July 2017, and utilizing the Leapfrog Group’s own calculator for scoring with that data, our calculated grade would have been a C."
"This improvement is in line with what we anticipated our ranking would be at this point when we re-assumed oversight of our hospital in 2017," Smith said.
As for the grades received by Jewish and other hospitals U of L Health now owns, Smith pointed out that the data that led to their current scores was collected before the acquisition.
"Regardless of our score, we will never be satisfied with anything other than providing top quality patient care and continually striving to improve our service to our patients, our communities and the state as a whole," he said. "Kentucky residents deserve nothing less."
Background: Kentucky lawmakers question plan to loan U of L $50 million to buy Jewish Hospital
Here are the grades other local hospitals received for fall 2019 from Leapfrog:
- Norton Hospital: A
- Norton Audubon Hospital: A
- Norton Women's & Children's Hospital: A
- Norton Brownsboro Hospital: A
- Clark Memorial Hospital: C
- Baptist Health Floyd: B
- U of L Health —Mary & Elizabeth Hospital (formerly Sts. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital): D
- Baptist Health Louisville: C
- Baptist Health La Grange: C
- U of L Health — Shelbyville Hospital (formerly Jewish Hospital Shelbyville): A
- Flaget Memorial Hospital: A
- Hardin Memorial Hospital: B
Norton Healthcare's president and CEO praised the top marks his organization's hospitals received in a news release.
“This ‘A’ ranking at each of our hospitals is a testament to the hard work of our dedicated providers and team members who consistently deliver safe, high-quality care to our patients,” CEO Russell Cox said.
Morgan Watkins: 502-582-4502; [email protected]; Twitter: @morganwatkins26. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: courier-journal.com/morganw.