Lehigh Valley and Berks County hospitals win top safety grade

Lehigh Valley Hospital’s Cedar Crest, Hazleton, Muhlenberg and Pocono campuses were awarded “A” ratings by the Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit aiming to improve health care quality for consumers, employees and purchasers.
The Bethlehem, Anderson, Warren, Miners and Monroe County hospital campuses of the St. Luke’s University Health Network and Reading Hospital in West Reading in Berks County also received “A” ratings.
The ratings were announced in a May 15 news release from the Lehigh Valley Business Coalition on Healthcare, LVBCH, a multi-state, nonprofit, coalition of employers that seek to provide access to quality affordable health care for their employees.
“The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade offers our community critical information about which hospitals in Pennsylvania are best at protecting patients from preventable harm,” Carl Seitz, president of LVBCH, said in a statement. “We are committed to ensuring our local hospitals offer the best and safest care to their patients.”
Lehigh Valley Health Network’s President and CEO Brian Nester praised Lehigh Valley Hospital’s efforts that led to the “A” grade at its three campuses.
“Safety is important to all of us no matter where we go or what we do,” he said.
Donna Sabol, vice president and chief quality officer at St. Luke’s Health Network, lauded the  doctors, nurses and staff at St. Luke’s in response to the hospital’s “A” rating, for “making patient safety their overriding priority in everything they do.”
Reading Hospital President and CEO William M. Jennings commended Reading Hospital’s staff and volunteers for their commitment to “maintaining the highest standards of safety and care for our patients,” in response to the hospital’s top grade.
The Leapfrog independent grading system assigns “A,” “B,” “C,” “D” and “F” letter grades to general acute care hospitals in the U.S. based on their ability to protect patients from avoidable errors, injuries, accidents and infections.
The nonprofit graded 128 hospitals in Pennsylvania, with 44 earning an “A,” 37 earning a “B,” 41 a “C” and 6 a “D.” one earned an “F.”
St. Clair Hospital in Pittsburgh is the only hospital in Pennsylvania to have received “Straight A’s” since 2013.
Hospitals with a “D” or “F” safety grade have been found to have a 92 percent greater risk of patient death than an “A” grade hospital, according to Leapfrog researchers.
Overall, the researchers concluded that an estimated 160,000 lives are lost annually due to avoidable medical errors.
“Avoidable medical errors and infections in hospitals continue to be one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade provides the Lehigh Valley and all of Pennsylvania with useful, up-to-date information to further ensure safety and accountability when choosing a hospital.”
The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,600 hospitals throughout the United States twice per year.

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