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Hospital Report Card Contains Good/Bad News For Chicago Hospitals

Leapfrog Group is a nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C. that helps employers and other health care purchasers by gathering and disseminating data about the quality of available health care. The group recently released a report card that identifies which hospitals present the most hazardous environments for patients in terms of preventable medical errors and other injuries. The report card assigns facilities a grade, from A through F, to give consumers an easily understood representation of hospital quality.

Hospitals in the Chicago metropolitan area had the greatest number of facilities receiving an A grade of all major metro areas in the country. Thirty-three Chicago hospitals were among the best at avoiding preventable medical errors, infections and other injuries suffered by hospitalized patients, according to Leapfrog. Four hospitals in the region received F grades while the largest public hospital, Stroger Hospital of Chicago, received a B. The four facilities that were given failing grades were Jackson Park Hospital and Medical Center, Loretto Hospital, Norwegian American Hospital and Roseland Community Hospital.

It is unclear if the rankings provided by Leapfrog are having an impact on hospital quality. Since the last ratings were given, just six months ago, roughly 25 percent of hospitals have improved by a letter grade or more. That improvement is offset by the 19 percent of hospitals that declined by a letter grade or more. One of the goals of the Leapfrog grading system is to push health care facilities to improve patient safety by giving them a financial incentive to do so.

For patients in Illinois, the Leapfrog grades are just one way to measure hospital quality. The state provides a report card of its own that can be found online at www.healthcarereportcard.illinois.gov. People who have a choice in what facility will provide their health care are encouraged to review these reports and make the most educated decision they can.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Hospitals, A to F," 1 December 2012

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