Consumer Reports gives low safety scores to Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, MetroHealth

CLEVELAND - Northeast Ohio's leading hospitals should make patient safety a higher priority, according to Dr. John Santa, the director of Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center.

"We know those hospitals can do things well. Now they need to focus on examples of getting safety done and making that a number one priority," said Santa.

For the first time, Consumer Reports rated 1,159 U.S. hospitals for safety. Using a scale of 1 to 100, it gave low scores to some of Ohio's best-known and well-respected hospitals. The Cleveland Clinic Foundation received a score of 39, University Hospitals Case Medical Center received a 41, and MetroHealth Medical Center received a 43.

"Cleveland and the Cleveland community are . . . really important. The Cleveland Clinic and UH really set the tone in many respects in the industry and they have a terrific opportunity here to lead the way (by improving patient safety," said Santa.

Other Northeast Ohio hospitals fared better under Consumer Reports' hospital safety ratings. Parma Community General Hospital received a safety score of 59, Southwest General Health Center in Middleburg Heights received a 58 and Akron General Medical Center received a score of 56.

More than half of the hospitals rated by Consumer Reports received a scored below 50. Billings Clinic in Montana received the top score of 72. Santa said the ratings show all hospitals improve patient safety.

Santa said Consumer Reports rated the hospitals using data from federal and independent sources. The score is a composite rating created by combining six safety factors. Those factors are: infections, re-admissions, overuse of scanning, communication about new medications and discharge, complications and mortality. Radiation from the overuse of scanning can cause cancer, according to Santa.

We contacted MetroHealth Medical Center, University Hospitals Case Medical Center and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation about their ratings. Officials from each hospital responded with a written statement.

Jim Armstrong, director of communications for The MetroHealth Sytem issued the following statement:
" Patient safety is always an important focus area for us.  The MetroHealth System recently received a stellar "A" rating in a similar report from the Leapfrog Group, a nationally recognized hospital quality organization whose data was used in this report.   We will closely review the methodology used in this latest listing,"

Vic Gideon, Senior Media Relations Strategist for University Hospitals Case Medical Center issued the following statement:
"University Hospitals is nationally recognized for its extraordinary commitment to quality, safety and best practices in patient care by numerous national organizations. Most recently, UH Case Medical Center and four other UH-affiliated hospitals earned "A" rankings (the top score) from The Leapfrog Group which used publicly available data on patient injuries, medical and medication errors, and infections. We are proud of our hospital system's exceptional focus on providing breakthrough medicine to our patients in a patient and family-centered environment."

Heather Phillips, a director of corporate communications for Cleveland Clinic issues the following statement:
" Patient safety is our highest priority. Cleveland Clinic and our health system hospitals, some of which scored highly on this report, have made tremendous strides in safety practices, which unfortunately is not uniformly reflected in this report because much of the data is outdated. We encourage patients to make informed decisions about their healthcare and invite them to see our latest safety and quality measures on our website at www.clevelandclinic.org ."

Consumer Reports is the world's largest product-testing organization. It was founded in 1936.

To look at the details of Consumer Reports hospital ratings, go to www.ConsumerReports.org .

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