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Most Kansas City Area Hospitals Do Well In A New Patient Safety Report

HCA Midwest Health
Centerpoint Medical Center was one of seven Kansas City-area hospitals to receive an A grade in a recent report on patient safety.

Seven of 20 Kansas City area hospitals got A’s in patient safety, according to a new report, while nine got B’s and four got C’s.

The grades were assigned by The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit that twice a year rates 2,600 general acute-care hospitals across the country on patient safety measures.

The 28 performance measures include handwashing practices, blood infections and patient falls. Leapfrog uses the measures to come up with a single letter grade ranging from A to F, meant to show how effective a hospital is in keeping patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors.

“Over 33,000 lives could be saved if all hospitals performed at the level of A-graded hospitals,” Leapfrog says.

Some health experts say 4 percent of patients acquire infections in hospitals. Leapfrog says that an analysis it commissioned from the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine estimates 206,021 avoidable deaths occur in U.S. hospitals each year – and Leapfrog says that’s probably an underestimate.

The analysis also found that hospitals receiving Ds and Fs carry a nearly 50 percent greater risk of mortality than A-graded hospitals.

Listed below are the Kansas City-area hospitals and the grades they received:

A grades: 

  • The University of Kansas Hospital
  • Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City
  • Shawnee Mission Medical Center
  • Providence Medical Center
  • Centerpoint Medical Center
  • St. Mary’s Medical Center
  • Lee’s Summit Medical Center

B grades:

  • Research Medical Center (main campus)
  • Saint Luke’s North Hospital
  • St. Joseph Medical Center
  • Overland Park Regional Medical Center
  • Saint Luke’s South Medical Hospital
  • Liberty Hospital
  • Saint Luke’s East Hospital
  • Belton Regional Medical Center
  • Lawrence Memorial Hospital

C grades:

  • Truman Medical Center Hospital Hill
  • North Kansas City Hospital
  • Menorah Medical Center
  • Olathe Medical Center

Dave Dillon, a spokesman for the Missouri Hospital Association, noted that there are a lot of different hospital rating measures and they don’t always look at the same data.
The Missouri Hospital Association, for example, does its own survey, FocusOnHospitals.com, that includes all Missouri hospitals. (Leapfrog's report card excludes specialty hospitals such as children’s hospitals, as well as critical access hospitals located in rural areas.)

“Additionally, not all of the data used is current,” Dillon said in an email. “So, a hospital might be performing better or worse, depending on the dataset and what practices the hospital has put in place to address specific issues.”

Dillon said hospitals have spent “significant amounts of time and energy to improve quality and patient safety.”

“As all hospitals get better, the competition to keep up gets fierce,” he said.

Leapfrog cautions that patients should never refuse emergency care because of a hospital’s safety grade but rather use the grades as a guide for planned hospitalizations and potential emergencies.

Its report card draws on data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Agency for Healthcare Research Quality, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Hospital Association’s Annual Survey Health Information Technology Supplement and Leapfrog’s own hospital survey.

Leapfrog also ranks states, based on their number of “A” hospitals compared to the total number of hospitals graded. Kansas ranked #24, with nearly a third of its hospitals receiving an A grade, while Missouri ranked #34, with about 23 percent of its hospitals receiving an A grade.

Kansas moved up three notches from Leapfrog’s last survey in spring 2018; Missouri dropped 21 notches.

The top five jurisdictions were New Jersey, Oregon, Virginia, Massachusetts and Texas. The bottom five were Connecticut, Nebraska, Washington, D.C., Delaware and North Dakota.

Dan Margolies is a senior reporter and editor at KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies.


Dan Margolies has been a reporter for the Kansas City Business Journal, The Kansas City Star, and KCUR Public Radio. He retired as a reporter in December 2022 after a 37-year journalism career.
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