NoVa Hospitals Score Well in Safety Study, DC Not So Well

Virginia hospitals are among the safest in the country. So says the Hospital Safety Score, an organization that ranks hospitals in the U.S., assigning each A, B, C, D, or F letter grade reflecting how safe hospitals are for patients in a number of care-related fields.

The latest study found that the hospitals with the highest grades tended to be concentrated in a handful of states. So, in fact, did the hospitals with the lowest grades.

Most Northern Virginia hospitals got a “B” score, although the region’s largest hospital, Inova Fairfax, was not rated. It fell into the “score pending” category. Inova Loudon Hospital got an “A” while “B” scores went to: Virginia Hospital Center, Arlington; Inova Fair Oaks, Fairfax; Reston Hospital Center, Reston; and Stafford Hospital, Stafford.

Receiving “C” scores were Prince William Hospital, Manassas; Sentara Potomac, Woodbridge; and Inova Mount Vernon, Alexandria.

Sibley Hospital, Washington, got an “A” while all other D.C. hospitals got a “C.”

Besides Virginia, the best hospitals, according to the study, are found in Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee, Delaware, Minnesota and California. Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont have the largest percentage of “A” hospitals in the U.S.

The states with the lowest numbers of “A” hospitals include New York; Washington, D.C.; Connecticut; Wisconsin; West Virginia; Oklahoma; Arkansas; Oregon; Missouri and Rhode Island. Unscored hospitals include all hospitals from Maryland which the federal government excludes from required public reporting at the national level.

Hospitals are scored using publicly available data on patient injuries, medical and medication errors, and infections.

Where the focus is on safety

“More than 400 people die every day from hospital errors such as medication mix-ups, accidents and infections,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO, The Leapfrog Group, the independent nonprofit group that created the Hospital Safety Score. “Ultimately, we want all hospitals to get ‘A’s.’ But it is interesting to see that hospitals in some parts of the country seem to be particularly focused on safety. We encourage the people who live in states that fared worse in the Hospital Safety Score to have a conversation with their doctors about the quality of care.”

States that scored highest on the list tend to have highly-acclaimed teaching hospitals within their boundaries, which may raise the overall quality of care.

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Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.