UCLA Medical Center Received Failing Grade for Patient Safety

This article discusses the recent failing grade UCLA and other hospitals received for hospital safety. This also covers a problem independent groups are seeing with hospital safety and patient injuries.

A national report used to grade hospital safety gives Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and 25 others nationwide a failing grade. This according to the study provided by Leapfrog Group, an employer backed nonprofit group focused on healthcare quality. Although this may come as a shock to many people who may question how such a prestigious hospital can receive such a poor grade, it does not come as a shock to Leapfrog who gave UCLA a failing grade in June as well.

According to the November 28th article in the L.A. Times “UCLA Medical Center gets failing grade on patient safety,” by Chad Terhune, Leapfrog actually held back their F rating of UCLA Medical Center in order to give them time to make safety improvements. UCLA disputes the grade, saying a patient’s death in 2010 caused their grade to drop from a C to an F. UCLA’s chief medical officer Tom Rosenthal said the 2010 liver transplant death which happened during surgery because of an air embolism was one of several preventable medical errors tracked by Leapfrog and this was a regrettable mistake but this error hasn’t happened since then. Leapfrog stands by their grading system stating they are statistically valid. Leapfrog’s president, Leah Binder said UCLA scored poorly in several areas of patient care including foreign objects being left in a patient during surgery, and pressure ulcers. Binder states that it takes more than one incident for a hospital to score this poorly and Leapfrog sees these types of incidents happening all the time. Leapfrog also gave Western Medical Center Anaheim a failing grade and lowered their grade on Cedars-Sinai Medical Center from an A grade in their June report to a C grade on their latest report.

A larger number of employers and insurers are paying attention to the grades hospitals and doctors receive from organizations like Leapfrog Group. It can help provide employers with additional information when deciding which hospitals and doctors to include in their provider network. Consumers also become more informed when making personal decisions for doctor and hospital care. Because of the greater influence organizations like Leapfrog have with the public regarding their grading of hospitals, the California Hospital Association has requested Leapfrog and other organizations show more details at how they arrive at their grade and conduct their hospital safety score model. Leapfrog currently uses 26 different measures of public reported data to conduct their hospital safety analysis and grading system.

Leapfrog estimates 180,000 Americans die each year from hospital errors, infections, and accidents, and that hospitals need to do a better job with protecting their patients from harm. Out of 2,618 hospitals reviewed across the country, Leapfrog gave an A or B rating to 1,468 hospitals, a C to 1,004 hospitals, and a D or F to 146 hospitals.

Dr. Fagel is an attorney and physician who represents plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases against doctors and hospitals exclusively on behalf of injured patients. His practice focuses on complex medical malpractice cases resulting in catastrophic injuries caused by doctor or hospital negligence, such as birth or brain damage, induced hypertension, wrongful death, cerebral palsy, Erb's palsy, nursing home negligence, misdiagnosis of cancer and paraplegia cases.

Dr. Fagel graduated from the University Of Illinois Medical College Of Medicine, M.D., 1972. He earned his law degree at Whittier College School of Law, Los Angeles, CA, J.D., 1982.

Copyright The Law Offices of Dr. Bruce G. Fagel & Associates
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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