New Report Grades Chicago Hospitals on Patient Safety

How safe are Chicago hospitals?

A new report says some of them are not making the grade when it comes to patient safety and preventable death. The report, conducted by nonprofit watchdog The Leapfrog Group, shines a light on the dangers inherent in some of the area’s safety net hospitals that lack the resources others have.

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Although Illinois ranks 14th in the country for hospital safety, five hospitals received a grade of D: John Stroger, Mt. Sinai, Loretto, Jackson Park and Weiss Memorial.

“The resources are an issue,” said Dr. Nikhila Juvvadi, chief clinical officer at the Loretto Hospital. “We do look at some of the other hospitals that that had a D grade, and they are also safety net hospitals.”

Safety net hospitals, which are legally obligated to provide health care regardless of a patient’s insurance or ability to pay, represent 19.1 percent of Illinois hospitals and are dependent on government funding.

And that contributes to the grade Loretto Hospital received, Juvvadi said.

“Despite the fact that the MCOs (Medicaid Managed Care Organizations) are not paying us enough to take care of everybody, we have made an executive decision that the clinical care will not be affected,” she said.

That means the hospital’s board members have decided to redistribute resources and funding to clinical care by cutting pay for nonclinical staff members, she said.

Hospitals are encouraged to participate in the report because it offers helpful feedback, said Judy Hearn, director of member initiatives for the Midwest Business Group on Health, which serves as the Illinois regional leader for The Leapfrog Group.

“I think to the hospitals, it’s important for them to know where they stand,” she said. “If they don’t see it, they don’t know where to make adjustments and improvements.”

Juvvadi and Hearn join us in discussion.

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