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Analysis: Three Long Island hospitals receive top A rating for quality, safety

St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson received an

St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson received an A rating by the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit The Leapfrog Group. Credit: Newsday/Dick Kraus

Long Island hospitals received higher ratings on average for patient safety than their counterparts statewide, according to an analysis on hospital safety released Thursday.

Three Long Island hospitals were among the 11 in New York to receive the top A rating from the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit The Leapfrog Group: Mather Hospital and St. Charles Hospital, both in Port Jefferson, and St. Francis Hospital in Flower Hill. Leapfrog focuses on hospital quality and safety.

Nearly a third of the 22 Long Island hospitals in the analysis got As or Bs, compared with under 20% statewide. Nationwide, though, nearly 60% of hospitals received As or Bs.

“It is hard to say exactly what it is that is causing [New York] hospitals to do so poorly,” said Erica Mobley, Leapfrog’s director of operations. “It really doesn’t seem there has been a concerted focused effort around safety and improvements.”

In other states, hospitals have formed collaboratives to strategize on ways to improve patient safety, sometimes with state funding, she said.

Leapfrog’s letter grades are calculated by analyzing processes that promote safety and examining data on medical errors and hospital-acquired infections and conditions.

St. Francis’ president, Dr. Charles Lucore, said he meets every morning with leaders of hospital divisions to discuss actual or potential safety issues and how to resolve them.

One way to improve safety is a carefully targeted use of antibiotics, he said. For example, the use of some antibiotics, especially in combination with certain types of medications, can lead to the overgrowth of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.

Two Long Island hospitals’ letter grades fell since the May Leapfrog report, and two hospitals’ grades improved.

The rating for Southside Hospital in Bay Shore fell from C to D, and the grade for North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset dropped from B to C.

Both are Northwell Health hospitals, as is top-ranked Mather. Northwell said in a statement that it routinely examines safety data and “works aggressively to resolve” any issue.

Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre and Long Island Community Hospital in Patchogue each improved from D to C. Only a year and a half ago, Long Island Community received an F.

“When we see grades gradually improving over time, it really shows the hospital has made a commitment to being a safer place for their patients, and they’ve put steps in place to do that,” Mobley said. “That’s resulting in fewer errors.”

Cynthia Ruf, a vice president at Long Island Community, said a doctor-led hospital committee focuses on hospital quality. About two years ago, the hospital instituted an electronic prescription system to detect errors, she said.

“We really saw the benefits of it this year” because it took time for “our physicians to get comfortable using it and for it becoming part of our standard,” she said.

Electronic prescription systems are critical in preventing errors because they alert medical professionals when, for example, a doctor tries to prescribe a drug that a patient is allergic to or that may have a negative interaction with another medication, Mobley said.

HOSPITAL SAFETY GRADES

Among Long Island hospitals:

  • 3 received an A, the top score
  • 4 received a B
  • 13 received a C
  • 2 received a D

To find out the rating for your hospital, go to hospitalsafetygrade.org

Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport was not rated because it did not provide enough data, Leapfrog’s Erica Mobley said. It received a C in May.

SOURCE: The Leapfrog Group

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