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Hospital safety grades declining nationally, Michigan follows the trend

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Patient safety is a growing concern for hospitals across the country, and Michigan is following suit.

The Leapfrog Group's spring report on hospital safety grades put Michigan at 24th place nationally for preventing harm and medical errors in hospitals.

Just under 27% of the state's hospitals received an "A" grade for safety — that's an almost 6% drop since last Fall's report.

"Our infrastructure for patient safety is not as resilient as we once thought it was," said Katie Stewart, the director of health care ratings at the Leapfrog Group. "We really need to get to a place where we can be prepared and still be able to maintain that safe place for patients, even in a public health emergency."

Stewart also noted Michigan's high incidence of MRSA, a preventable infection acquired in clinical settings.

In addition to a nationwide rise in hospital-acquired infections like central-line blood infections and catheter-associated UTIs, the report found drops in patient satisfaction.

Sam Watson oversees patient safety at the Michigan Health & Hospital Association. He says the pandemic compromised patient advocacy and early detection of medical errors.

"Everybody has responsibility to speak up, make sure that if they see something that may be potential risk, that they make sure that the right people know," said Watson. "During the pandemic, a lot of the staff that were doing that, were pulled to care for patients who were in need. It was truly an all-hands-on-deck experience."

With the report highlighting multiple fronts for hospitals to improve, Stewart says strong leadership will be key in improving patient and healthcare worker safety in the future.

Priya Vijayakumar started her Newsroom Internship in January 2023. She is interested in science/health reporting and making the facts more accessible to all!
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