Alpena hospital earns C in safety from health watchdog

News File Photo Visitors approach the entrance to MyMichigan Medical Center Alpena in this April 2022 News archive photo.

ALPENA — In a report released Tuesday, MyMichigan Medical Center Alpena earned a C in safety from the Leapfrog Group, an independent national watchdog organization committed to health care quality and safety.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade report rates hospitals based on more than 30 national performance measures reflecting errors, accidents, injuries, and infections. Leapfrog also analyzes the systems hospitals have in place to prevent harm.

According to Leapfrog, the Alpena hospital met safety standards in preventing and responding to patient harm, medication safety, and maternity care but fell below standards in health care-associated infections.

Leapfrog analyzes a past performance period to calculate their grades. Since then, the Alpena hospital has reduced infections common with urinary or central venous catheters and has had zero or reduced rates of falls and complications related to surgeries or postoperative care, according to a news release from MyMichigan Health.

“We continually review best practices in patient safety to strengthen our quality and performance measures,” Chuck Sherwin, president of MyMichigan Medical Center Alpena said in the news release. “Each scoring period allows us to learn through Leapfrog on how our performance compares to the best in the nation, giving us (the) opportunity to reflect on adjustments we can make for the betterment of our patients.”

The Alpena hospital received a C ranking in November and an A safety grade in the two previous ranking cycles.

Leapfrog grades are updated each fall and spring.

The Alpena hospital is not alone in its C-ranking.

While a third of hospitals received an A from Leapfrog, another 36% earned a C from the organization.

Hospitals nationwide received grades indicating significant decline in safety since previous ranking periods, Leapfrog said, attributing that change to the impact of COVID-19 on patient safety.

“Key areas of patient experience that worsened were likely associated with the strain health care workers endured during the height of the pandemic,” Leapfrog said in an analysis of a nationwide survey of adult hospital patients, also released by Leapfrog on Tuesday. “Patients were less likely to receive help when needed, which can lead to potentially serious safety lapses.”

Nationwide, patients taking the survey were less satisfied with communication with medical staff, felt less informed about medications, and were less likely to recommend their hospital than pre-pandemic.

Areas of patient experience already faltering before the pandemic began — like transitioning care once out of the hospital, communication about medications, and hospital staff responsiveness — worsened the most during the pandemic, the surveys indicated.

Patient satisfaction increased in only one area: quietness of the hospital.

View all hospital safety grades at hospitalsafetygrade.org.

Julie Riddle can be reached at 989-358-5693 or jriddle@thealpenanews.com. Follow her on Twitter @jriddleX.


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