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California ranks 11th in hospitals with A grades for safety

Hollywood Presbyterian and Long Beach Memorial are among those with A's, according to a Leapfrog Group report. A few Fs also were given in the state.

May 08, 2013|By Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times
  • Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. ( Stefano Paltera / For The…)

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center improved slightly from an F to a D in a national hospital safety report released Wednesday, while Cedars-Sinai Medical Center stayed at a C grade.

Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit healthcare quality organization, based the scores on an analysis of infections, injuries, medication errors and other problems that cause patient harm or death. The organization publicizes the scores in an effort to inform patients and reduce safety problems, said Leah Binder, its president and chief executive.

"It is not enough for hospitals to promise they will do everything they can to address patient safety," she said. "It takes more than that. It takes patients and others in the community to publicly demand improvements."

Each year, 180,000 people die nationwide from hospital errors and injuries, according to the organization. Hospital executives, patients, relatives and unions all play a role in making hospitals safer, Binder said. Patients can check the grades of their hospitals at

California ranked 11th for the number of hospitals with an A grade. Among the Southern California hospitals that received the highest safety scores were Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood, UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica and Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. Nearly all of the state's Kaiser hospitals also received A grades.

There were just a few F grades in the state, including Western Anaheim Medical Center and Victor Valley Community Hospital in Victorville.

UCLA Health Sciences spokeswoman Roxanne Yamaguchi Moster said that the score was based on data from 2009 to 2011 and that she expected to see "significant improvement" in the future.

"We are disappointed, but not surprised by the latest Leapfrog rating and know that it does not reflect in any way the quality of care the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center provides its patients," she said in an email.

The three county hospitals had mixed scores, with L.A. County/USC Medical Center and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center receiving C grades and Olive View-UCLA Medical Center getting an A.

California requires hospitals to report certain errors and fines them for mistakes that kill or seriously injure patients. Neither Medicaid nor Medicare pays hospitals for costs incurred by certain preventable errors.

About three-quarters of the hospitals kept the same grades as in November, when the group issued its last report. About 10% of hospitals improved and 15% received lower grades.

"It is very unfortunate and distressing that we don't see more progress in this data," Binder said.

Leapfrog Group analyzed 2,514 acute-care hospitals around the nation and gave out 780 A's, 638 Bs, 932 Cs, 148 Ds and 16 Fs.

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