How Safe Are Louisiana’s Hospitals?

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Going in for surgery or a major medical procedure in the near future?  You might want to check out how your hospital fares in a new survey of hospital safety ratings.  Louisiana ranked #11 in the rankings with 40.74% of Louisiana hospitals earning an “A” grade, moving up a notch from last year.  In 2018, 39.22% of our state’s hospitals earned an “A,” landing them in the #12 spot. That’s promising news but there is always room for improvement.  As medical malpractice attorneys, the law firm of Joseph Joy and Associates in Lafayette is concerned when a provider ranks poorly in industry rankings. We view that as a reminder that patients need to choose their doctors and hospitals wisely.

Our medical malpractice team at the law firm of Joseph Joy and Associates examined the hospital safety list and thankfully we did not find any Louisiana hospitals failing with an “F” but there are a few “D” hospitals.  According to the surveyors, the risk of death nearly doubles for patients using hospitals Graded As “D” or “F.”

We won’t call out any specific hospitals. Instead, you will want to review the list yourself.

The rankings were released through the Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit claiming to represent the nation’s largest and most influential employers and purchasers of health care.  It released its new spring 2019 Hospital Safety Grades. In conjunction, the group contracted with the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality to update its estimate of deaths due to errors, accidents, injuries and infections at “A”, “B”, “C”, “D” and “F” hospitals. Their researchers assessed more than 2,600 hospitals receiving Hospital Safety Grades and reportedly found that when compared to “A” hospitals:

Patients at “D” and “F” hospitals face a 92% greater risk of avoidable death

Patients at “C” hospitals on average face an 88% greater risk of avoidable death

Patients at “B” hospitals on average face a 35% greater risk of avoidable death

Even ‘A” hospitals are not perfectly safe, but they are apparently getting safer, according to the report. If all hospitals had an avoidable death rate equivalent to “A” hospitals, they claim, 50,000 lives would have been saved, versus 33,000 lives that would have been saved by “A” level performance in 2016.

Overall, an estimated 160,000 lives are lost annually from the avoidable medical errors that are accounted for in the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, a significant improvement from 2016, when researchers estimated 205,000 avoidable deaths.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades are an independent, nonprofit grading system that assigns “A,” “B,” “C,” “D” and “F” letter grades to general, acute-care hospitals in the United States. Administered on behalf of employers and other purchasers, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is the nation’s only rating system focused entirely on errors, accidents, injuries and infections. Methodology underlying the Safety Grade is reviewed by a National Expert Panel and receives guidance from the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, which also prepared the white paper on estimated deaths associated with patient safety. According to information released by the company, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public. Grades are assigned twice a year in the spring and fall.

Across all states, additional Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade findings for spring 2019 include:

Of more than 2,600 hospitals graded, 32% earned an “A,” 26% earned a “B,” 36% earned a “C,” 6% a “D” and just under 1% an “F”

The top five states with the highest percentages of “A” hospitals are: Oregon (58%), Virginia (53%), Maine (50%), Massachusetts (48%), and Utah (48%)

There are no “A” hospitals in Wyoming, Alaska, Washington, D.C., Delaware or North Dakota

Impressively, 41 hospitals nationwide have achieved an “A” in every grading update since the launch of the Safety Grade in spring 2012

The white paper estimated the number of deaths based on the average hospital performance in each grade category; individual hospital performance within a letter grade may vary. The estimates do not account for mortality from all medical errors, but from those measurable using existing public data.

Attorneys at the law firm of Joseph Joy and Associates have over 40 years of experience litigating personal injury cases, including medical malpractice.  Louisiana’s medical malpractice laws* are tricky and they favor the defendant physician and hospital.   When you retain our services to represent you in a Louisiana medical malpractice case, we will work immediately to obtain the compensation you need for your  recovery. Call our office now at 337-232-8123 or visit us at 900 S. College Rd., Lafayette, LA.

*LA Rev Stat § 9:5628

  • 5628. Actions for medical malpractice
  1. No action for damages for injury or death against any physician, chiropractor, nurse, licensed midwife practitioner, dentist, psychologist, optometrist, hospital or nursing home duly licensed under the laws of this state, or community blood center or tissue bank as defined in R.S. 40:1299.41(A), whether based upon tort, or breach of contract, or otherwise, arising out of patient care shall be brought unless filed within one year from the date of the alleged act, omission, or neglect, or within one year from the date of discovery of the alleged act, omission, or neglect; however, even as to claims filed within one year from the date of such discovery, in all events such claims shall be filed at the latest within a period of three years from the date of the alleged act, omission, or neglect.
  2. The provisions of this Section shall apply to all persons whether or not infirm or under disability of any kind and including minors and interdicts.
  3. The provisions of this Section shall apply to all healthcare providers listed herein or defined in R.S. 40:1299.41 regardless of whether the healthcare provider avails itself of the protections and provisions of R.S. 40:1299.41 et seq., by fulfilling the requirements necessary to qualify as listed in R.S. 40:1299.42 and 1299.44.

Acts 1975, No. 808, §1; Acts 1976, No. 214, §1; Acts 1987, No. 915, §1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987; Acts 1990, No. 501, §1; Acts 1995, No. 818, §1; Acts 1995, No. 983, §1, eff. June 29, 1995; Acts 2001, No. 95, §1.




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