Best healthcare in the US? Not in Minnesota

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The Leapfrog group has released its latest list of safe hospitals in the US, and, despite claims by Minnesota hospitals, or the high-powered Minnesota Hospital Association, Minnesota doesn’t top the country in the quality of care.  Instead, if patients want to know where they can be safe from infections, errors, accidents, or injuries, Minnesota ranks just 15th in the country while Maine actually has the highest percentage of “A” or safe hospitals.

The grading comes from Leapfrog, an independent nonprofit organization that’s committed to driving quality, safety, and transparency in the US healthcare system.  Leapfrog’s Hospital Safety Score is considered the gold standard by The New York Times, AARP, and MSNBC.  Leapfrog scores more than 2500 hospitals across the country by not using just one measure of performance indicators, such as the hospitals’ often cited scores from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).  Leapfrog combines AHRQ with performance measures from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the American Hospital Association’s annual survey.

Leapfrog uses more than 28 points from both government and industry sources to score hospitals, and the methodology has been peer reviewed and published in the Journal of Patient Safety.

After individual hospitals are scored, Leapfrog assigns a grade from A to F, and ranks states by the percentage of “A” level hospitals in that state.  While some hospitals have more safe hospitals, only one-third of Minnesota’s hospitals deserved an A.  The list of A hospitals includes large facilities such as Mayo’s Rochester’s Methodist campus as well as small facilities such as Fairview Lakes in Wyoming, Minnesota.

The vast majority of hospitals, however, deserved B or C grades with one D, which went to county-run Hennepin County Medical Center.  Mayo’s Rochester-St. Mary’s campus got a B along with United in St. Paul, Unity in Fridley, and Park Nicollett’s Methodist hospital in St. Louis Park.  C hospitals included Winona, St. Luke’s in Duluth, University of Minnesota Medical Center, and Mayo Mankato.

The variety of scores shows that not all patients receive a minimum standard of care.  Every patient in Minnesota deserves quality care that comes from having the staffing that prevents medical errors, spots pressure ulcers, changes dressings that can cause infections, and gives nurses and other healthcare workers the time they need to properly assess patients before problems occur.

See the full list here as well as an explanation of the methodology and what patients can do to pick the safest hospitals for procedures.

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