Shands

Errors in medical prescriptions and surgery led UF Health Shands to receive a just passing grade for hospital safety.

The C grade was assigned to Shands by The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit that collects and reports on hospital safety and quality, said Erica Mobley, director of operations for the organization.

North Florida Regional Medical Center in Gainesville received a B, and the nearest hospital to receive an A was Putnam Community Medical Center in Palatka.

In general, the hospitals with higher scores demonstrated better in patient safety and the processes they have implemented to prevent any mishaps at the hospitals, Mobley said.

There are 28 measures of safety performance used to score the hospitals, she said. These measures fall into two categories: policies and processes in place at the hospital to prevent errors and the rate at which errors occur.

From the 28 performance measurements, The Leapfrog Group turns it into a single composite score, which is then translated for the grade, she said.

The methodology used by The Leapfrog Group was developed with guidance from a national panel of patient safety experts from institutions like Harvard University and John Hopkins University, she said.

Leapfrog uses two main sources of data to collect information to grade the hospitals, she said. One set is collected from the federal government via Medicare and the second is derived from a voluntary survey administered to hospitals.

“If a hospital doesn’t participate in our survey, we have some secondary data sources we are able to obtain some of that missing data,” Mobley said.

The reason Shands received a C is because it scored below the national average for both medication errors and outcome measures like wounds opening up after surgery and cuts and tears resulting from medical treatment, she said.

“For both of these errors, this hospital scored significantly worse than the national average, so that would have contributed to the C grade as well,” Mobley said.

However, Shands’ score for medication errors might be affected as Shands did not participate with The Leapfrog Group, she said. Therefore, the group wasn’t able to test if the technology the hospital uses to prevent medication errors is working properly.

“If a hospital doesn’t participate in our survey, then they don’t complete this test, and we have no way of knowing whether the equipment is working well,” Mobley said. “All we know about this hospital is the amount of technology they have.”

Despite this, The Leapfrog Group will not grade a hospital if it doesn’t feel it’s accurate, she said.

“If a hospital is missing so much data, we will not give them a grade because we still want to assure that it’s an accurate reflection of their performance,” Mobley said.

To Shands, the score it received is not an accurate representation of the quality of the hospital’s care.

Since the hospital does not participate in the Leapfrog process, it did not provide exhaustive data about its hospital system, wrote Rossana Passaniti, UF Health Media Relations Coordinator, in an email.

“The letter grade attributed to UF Health does not accurately reflect the quality and expertise of care provided by our dedicated teams of UF Health physicians, nurses and staff,” Passaniti wrote in an email.

Meleah Lyden is a second year Telecommunications major with a specialization in News from Orlando, Florida.