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Hospital patient advocacy group rates safety

Skiff Medical Center among safest in Iowa according to report

An Iowa hospital patient advocacy group has released its newest set of safety scores for hospitals across Iowa, and Skiff Medical Center in Newton scored higher than most medical facilities in Iowa.

The Iowa Health Buyers Alliance, which works to improve health and health care in a patient-centered health system, released the updated Hospital Safety Scores Wednesday afternoon. The grading system — A through F — is the product of The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization of employer purchasers of health care and the nation’s leading experts on patient safety.

The Hospital Safety Score is based on infections, injuries and medical and medication errors. It is calculated under the guidance of a panel of patient safety experts by measuring 26 pieces of publicly available hospital safety data to produce a single score representing a hospital’s overall performance in patient safety.

The score has been peer-reviewed — most recently in last month’s issue of Journal of Patient Safety — and highlights the nation’s safest hospitals, while warning against those with unacceptable safety records in an effort to save lives.

Eight Iowa hospitals named in the Hospital Safety Score report received “A” grades. Seven, including Skiff Medical Center in Newton, received “B” grades from The Leapfrog Group. Several Iowa hospitals, including Pella Regional Health Center and Marshalltown Medical Center, are not scored.

“We are proud of the hospitals that achieved ‘A’ Hospital Safety Scores,” IHBA Co-Chairman Garth Bowen said. “We hope these grades also spur improvement in our other area hospitals”.

He said Iowans should use the Hospital Safety Score as a resource to choose a hospital and raise questions with their doctors. IHBA plans to use the new scores to:

• educate the public about patient safety and taking precautions when admitted to a hospital;

• work with policymakers to advance legislative options to reduce deaths by infection, injury and error;

• communicate with hospitals and health plans to set goals for getting more “A” grades; and

• work with its members on contracting, value-based purchasing, benefits design and employee educational programs to spur safety improvements in our hospitals.

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