Article from The Press Enterprise

By Sandra Stokley
Phone: (951) 368-9460

A nationwide survey that grades patient safety at hospitals based on criteria that includes hand hygiene, preventable medical errors and infections has given seven Inland-area facilities the highest rating possible.

Community Hospital of San Bernardino, Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, Riverside Community Hospital and Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Fontana, Moreno Valley, Ontario and Riverside received A grades in the report released in April by The Leapfrog Group.

For the third year in a row, Kaiser Permanente Riverside and Kaiser Permanente Fontana medical centers were among the top hospitals in the national in terms of patient safety.

The ratings also yielded some surprises, notably a D grade for Loma Linda University Medical Center. Parkview Community Hospital Medical Center in Riverside and Menifee Valley Medical Center in Sun City also received D grades.

In a prepared statement, officials at Loma Linda University Medical Center said the Leapfrog survey was prepared using information dating to 2010 and did not reflect hospital safety measures adopted over the past two years.

"As a Level 1 Trauma Center, Loma Linda University Medical Center cares for critically ill patients from across California and is committed to providing safe patient care," the statement said.

The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization founded by employers and large purchasers of healthcare benefits.

The group tracks preventable medical errors that studies have shown are among the top 10 causes of death in the US.

"While these hospitals often receive accolades for their surgical teams, state-of-the-art equipment and sought-after surgeons, they don't make the grade when it comes to patient safety," said Leah Binder, president and chief executive officer of Leapfrog.

Marlene Burnett, vice president of business development at Parkview Community Hospital Medical Center, said she could not comment because Parkview does not submit data to the Leapfrog survey.

Greg Padilla, administrator of Menifee Valley Medical Center, released a prepared statement that echoed Loma Linda's contention that the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Score was based on outdated information and "does not reflect our current practices."

Vita Willett, executive director of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals, said Kaiser has formed performance improvement teams that provide input on all aspects of patient care.

"We are committed to patient safety and have invested in technology, staff training and great people," Willett said.

Corona Regional Medical Center did not provide data in certain areas and did not receive a score, said Leapfrog spokeswoman Kristy Skowronski.

Patient Safety Scores

These are the grades Inland-area hospitals received in a national survey of patient safety conducted by the nonprofit Leapfrog Group.

A: Community Hospital of San Bernardino; Desert Regional Medical Center, Palm Springs; Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center; Kaiser Permanente Moreno Valley Community Hospital; Kaiser Permanente Ontario Medical Center; Kaiser Permanente Riverside Medical Center; Riverside Community Hospital.

B: Riverside County Regional Medical Center, Moreno Valley; San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital, Banning.

C: Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Colton; Hemet Valley Medical Center; St. Bernardine Medical Center, San Bernardino.

D: Loma Linda University Medical Center; Menifee Valley Medical Center, Sun City; Parkview Community Hospital Medical Center, Riverside.

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