Hospital keeps a C grade in safety scorecard

ALPENA — MidMichigan Medical Center-Alpena maintained its C average from earlier this year, according to semiannual hospital grades released Thursday by the nonprofit group Leapfrog.

The group uses various statistics about patient safety and health outcomes and hospital policies and practices to compile its grades for hospitals nationwide.

The last time Leapfrog gave the Alpena hospital a B was in the fall of last year, and it has been since the spring of 2014, before the hospital was owned by the Midland-based MidMichigan Health, since it last received an A.

It has never received a D or an F grade.

The grades are complied from data submitted voluntarily by the hospital and released each spring and fall.

Alpena scored well in many categories, including its practices to prevent treatment errors, having qualified nurses on staff, and the responsiveness to staff, to name a few.

The hospital scored below average in other areas, including having specially trained doctors for the intensive care unit and on communications between staff and patients over medications and their use.

MidMichigan Medical Center-Alpena President Chuck Sherwin said the data submitted on the survey was from 2018 and he has seen improvement in some of the areas that may show up as lacking in the last several Leapfrog reports.

He said a better grade is something he still thinks is on the horizon.

“We are seeing significant progress in areas where we had scored low previously,” Sherwin said.

Sherwin said hospitals aren’t required to respond to all of the indicators on the survey and some don’t respond to certain categories because they know it could drag their score down. He said the hospitals in MidMichigan Health System respond to all of the information requests and use any reported deficiencies to improve care and service.

“We report for all of the indicators and use the data we receive back to improve,” Sherwin said. “If we chose not to include some indicators, we would have had a higher score. Instead, we want to be fully transparent and not try to game the system.”

Of the 27 metrics the hospital was graded on, it was above average on 15, below average on 11, and average on one.

Meanwhile, MidMichigan’s hospital in Midland saw its grade drop from a B to a C, while its Gratiot location bumped its grade from a C to a B. MidMichigan Medical Center-West Branch maintained its B grade.

Statewide, 78 hospitals were scored, of which 32 earned an A grade and 22 a B. There were 17 with C grades and seven that had grades of D. None of the hospitals were given a failing grade of F, which is the lowest score possible.

The closest hospital to Alpena to receive an A grade was Otsego Memorial Hospital in Gaylord.

For a detailed breakdown on the grades and scores and or information on how they were tallied, visit hospitalsafetygrade.org and leapfroggroup.org.

Calls and emails were sent to MidMichigan Health for reaction and comment to the Leapfrog grade, but not returned.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ss_alpenanews.com.