MetroWest Medical Receives 'B' Mark In Patient Safety: Leapfrog

May 19, 2023

FRAMINGHAM, MA — MetroWest Medical Center is among the better hospital in the state according to the latest patient safety ratings from Leapfrog.

Hospitals were graded on how well they performed in protecting patient safety, even as the average risk of contracting deadly infections remained elevated nationwide after spiking to a five-year high during the pandemic, according to the spring 2023 hospital safety grades released Wednesday by The Leapfrog Group, an independent nonprofit health care watchdog.

Patient experience measures — like communication from doctors — also declined, according to the report. Leapfrog said the findings should be a wake-up call to hospitals nationwide.

The Leapfrog Group uses an academic grading scale with five letter grades to score nearly 3,000 hospitals nationwide on more than 30 measures of patient safety. Leapfrog says its hospital rating system is the only one in the country focusing solely on a hospital’s ability to protect patients from preventable errors.

In Massachusetts, 21 hospitals received an A, 18 received a B, 17 received a C and one received a D grade. No hospitals in the state received an F.

MetroWest was among the 18 that received a B.

This grade is consistent with the hospital's grade in the fall, and an improvement from 2021 and 2020, when the hospital received a C grade.

High rates of three health care-associated infections, or HAIs, “should stop hospitals in their tracks,” Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, said in a news release, noting that “infections like these can be life for death for some patients.”

“We recognize the tremendous strain the pandemic put on hospitals and their workforce, but alarming findings like these indicate hospitals must recommit to patient safety and build more resilience,” Binder said.

The problematic infections are Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA; central line-associated bloodstream infections, or CLABSI; and catheter-associated urinary tract infections, or CAUTI. When compared to rankings that covered the period immediately before the COVID-19 outbreak, the analysis found an increased infection ratio for all three infections. The spring 2023 rankings cover late 2021 and 2022.

However, another such infection, Clostridioides difficile, or C.Diff, improved and there was no significant change for surgical site infections post-surgery, the report said. The standardized infection ratio used to measure changes in the rates of infections compares the actual number of reported infections to the predicted number at each hospital.

“Not only are HAIs among the leading causes of death in the U.S., they also increase length of hospitalization stays and add to costs,” Binder said. “Our pre-pandemic data showed improved HAI measures, but the spring 2023 Safety Grade data spotlights how hospital responses to the pandemic led to a decline in patient safety and HAI management.”

Patient experience measures included communication with nurses and doctors, staff responsiveness, and communication about medicine and discharge information. Nationally, the average of all five measures declined when compared to pre-pandemic measures, according to the report.

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