Patient safety in Minnesota has showed a drastic decline this year, according to the latest Hospital Safety Score released on Wednesday. The Fall 2015 survey ranks Minnesota at 32nd in the country for patient safety, compared to 15th last year. The Hospital Safety Score is published twice a year by the Leapfrog Group, an independent nonprofit focused on hospital transparency. Leapfrog bases the rankings on data collected from hospitals on errors, injuries, accidents, infections, and 28 other key patient safety issues.
While 31 percent of U.S. hospitals received an “A” rating on patient safety, only 18 percent of Minnesota hospitals got an “A” in this year’s rankings. Also, 17 out of 38 reporting Minnesota hospitals received a grade of “C” or “D,” compared with 11 low-rated hospitals in 2014.
This coincides with what nurses in Minnesota are reporting. Nurses file Concern for Safe Staffing Forms with the Minnesota Nurses Association to report incidents of hospitals not scheduling enough nurses on duty to meet the patient demand. Over the past year, October 27, 2014-October 27, 2015, nurses submitted 2765 CFSS forms. This is more than double from the previous year when nurses submitted 1368 forms from October 27, 2013-October 27, 2014.
While other surveys might only look at hospital-reported issues or adverse events to calculate patient-safety ratings, Leapfrog’s Hospital Safety Score assesses process measures as well as outcome measures, and uses national performance measures from the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and the American Hospital Association’s Annual Survey and Health Information Technology Supplement.
Among other things, the survey measures Safety Problems with Surgery; Infections and Safety Issues; and Right Staffing to Prevent Safety Problems. Though it’s an important safety measure, most of the 38 reporting Minnesota hospitals refused to disclose their nurse staffing levels and if they had enough qualified nurses on staff to safely care for the number of patients. The Hospital Safety Score considers safe nurse staffing a key issue for patient safety. According to the Hospital Safety Score: “Patients receive most of their care from nurses, not doctors. When hospitals don’t have enough nurses or the nurses don’t have the right training, patients face a much greater risk of harm. Without enough qualified nurses, patients might face more complications, longer hospital stays, and even death.”
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