Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


Portland-area hospitals earn passing grades in new ranking

Suburban facilities get the top grades for patient safety


A national rating of hospital safety ranks Oregon hospitals 41st, with Portland-area hospitals overall scoring significantly better than others around the state.

The A through F ratings come from the Leapfrog Group, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit committed to improving hospital safety and efficiency. Leapfrog is funded by its members, most of whom are large purchasers of health care, such as national corporations and regional health coalitions.

No Portland hospitals achieved the highest safety rating, but three in the Portland area earned A’s: Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Medical Center in Clackamas, Providence Milwaukie Hospital and Tuality Community Hospital in Hillsboro.

The ratings are based on data from 26 key measures, including outcome measurements such as the number of hospital patients who fall, suffer bedsores and end up with foreign objects in their bodies after surgery.

System measurements include the number of physicians staffed in hospital intensive care units.

Providence Portland Medical Center, Adventist Medical Center and Providence St. Vincent Medical Center were the highest rated Portland hospitals. All three received B grades.

Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, Oregon Health & Science University and Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital all earned C ratings.

‘Huge opportunities

According to Missy Danforth, senior director of hospital ratings for Leapfrog, Portland-area hospitals with A ratings stand out for, among other things, their low rates of patient injuries and falls. Also, Danforth says, all three have had virtually no patients this year who developed bedsores.

Danforth says that among the most revealing measurements are preventable deaths after surgery. These occur from complications such as air embolisms, pneumonia and blood poisoning (sepsis), and reveal significant differences at the Portland hospitals (see chart). OHSU earned the top grade among local hospitals in that category.

Bethany Higgins, executive director of the Oregon Patient Safety Commission, says she’s “a little surprised” by Oregon’s low ranking. The patient safety commission works to reduce medical mistakes and increase safety at Oregon hospitals, and depends upon a controversial voluntary reporting system to track hospital errors. In some states, hospitals are required to report their medical mistakes.

Higgins says the commission has helped hospitals make major strides in some areas. An example, she says, is gains made in reducing the number of patients infected through central line catheters, considered among the most common hospital complications. Such infections are reportedly responsible for as many as 50,000 preventable deaths per year.

Providence Portland and Providence St. Vincent have reduced their central line infection rates well below the national average. Adventist and Legacy Good Samaritan are also better than the national average. OHSU and Legacy Emanuel are rated right at the national average.

Higgins says Oregon hospitals also need to concentrate more on preventing hospital falls and reducing mistakes with medications.

“We still have huge opportunities to make strides with medication events,” she says.

Implementing safety programs

Danforth rates all six Portland hospitals as “fairly good hospitals.” She says patients who have a choice of hospitals should look deeper into the Leapfrog data, but the best option might be to simply ask their physicians why they prefer one hospital over another.

“Doctors have really good information about this that often the public doesn’t know about,” Danforth says.

Danforth also says that despite the fact the three suburban hospitals in the Portland area were the only ones to earn A’s, national data shows that being smaller doesn’t necessarily help.

“It’s hard work for any hospital of any size to implement really good patient safety programs,” Danforth says. “Small hospitals say it’s harder for them because they don’t have as many resources to spend on safety programs. Big hospitals say it’s harder for them because they have sicker patients.”

For complete Leapfrog hospital safety data, go to: leapfroggroup.org/cp.




Local Weather

Mostly Cloudy

50°F

Beaverton

Mostly Cloudy

Humidity: 80%

Wind: 9 mph

  • 19 Dec 2014

    Cloudy 50°F 47°F

  • 20 Dec 2014

    Rain 53°F 54°F