Troubling Sam Health Grades Continue

Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center has a C grade in hospital safety, according to the Leapfrog Group, which compiles results from several surveys* and distills them into a single letter grade. This grade represents the hospital’s ability to keep patients safe from “preventable harm and medical error,” and is an improvement from Good Sam’s D grade in 2013.

But then, don’t be too excited about this improvement if you live in Albany; Samaritan Albany General Hospital still has a D grade. Only 29% of the hospitals graded in Oregon received an A.

In the breakdown of the C grade, Good Sam received its best scores for preventing serious breathing problems, preventing dangerous blood clots, using the correct antibiotics before surgery, stopping antibiotics soon after surgery, removing catheters soon after surgery, preventing infection in the blood during ICU stays, preventing surgical site infection after colon surgery, not leaving dangerous objects in patients’ bodies, preventing air and gas bubbles in the blood, preventing dangerous bed sores, and for using a Computerized Prescriber Order Entry (CPOE) to order medications for patients in the hospital.

Its worst scores were for preventing collapsed lungs, preventing surgical wounds from splitting open, not giving antibiotics right before surgery, preventing blood clots, preventing infection of the urinary tract, preventing patient falls, and not utilizing specially trained doctors to care for ICU patients. Good Sam also declined to report in eight categories: correct medication information communication, tracking and reducing risks to patients, hand-washing, preventing ventilator problems, effective leadership to prevent errors, staff working together to prevent errors, training to improve safety, and whether or not there are enough qualified nurses to care for patients.

When asked why Good Sam declined to report on those eight categories, Julie Manning, VP for Development, Marketing, and Public Relations at Good Sam, said, “The Leapfrog Group is one of many health care reporting entities. Although Good Samaritan does not report patient safety data directly to Leapfrog, we do report to a number of other publicly accessible data bases and Leapfrog draws its information in part from those same sources.” According to the Leapfrog Group’s scoring methodology, the fact that Good Sam declined to report certain categories was not calculated in the overall score.

And Then There Are the Neediest Patients

Oregon Health Plan cardholders appear to be lost in the shuffle at Samaritan Health. The InterCommunity Health Network CCO (Coordinated Care Organization), which is run by Samaritan Health Services, failed to meet enough of its benchmarks this year to qualify for all of its quality care incentive payment, scoring lower than any other CCO in the state.

IHN-CCO, which serves Oregon Health Plan members in Linn, Benton, and Lincoln counties, and just celebrated its third anniversary in July, fell short in the areas of alcohol and drug abuse screening, emergency room visits for ambulatory care, adolescent well-care visits, follow-up after mental health hospitalizations, patient satisfaction, and developmental screening for kids up to three years old. Coordinated Care Organizations are local networks of health care providers (physical care, mental health, and in some cases dental providers) who aim to provide more holistic, preventative, and coordinated care to OHP members. CCOs have yearly benchmarks they want to meet, and the Oregon Health Authority keeps 3% of payments into the state’s CCOs to give back as incentive pay for meeting those benchmarks.

When asked what Samaritan Health Services plans to do next year to meet the benchmarks, Manning said, “We are currently working together on outreach to CCO members with adolescent children to encourage them to incorporate an adolescent well child visit when they schedule their child’s sports physical prior to the start of school. These visits are one of the metrics we are focused on improving this year.”

Samaritan Health Services runs five hospitals and 70 medical clinics in central and western Oregon.

 *The Leapfrog Hospital Survey, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and the American Hospital Association’s Annual Survey and Health Information Technology Supplement

By Kelsi Villareal

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