Bad things happen in all hospitals, but they happen a lot in some. That's one of the conclusions of our first ever Ratings of hospital safety.
The lowest-scoring hospitals tend to cluster in metropolitan areas, suggesting that urban hospitals face special challenges. Sacred Heart Hospital in Chicago earned our lowest score, with just a 16 on our 100-point safety scale. The hospital reported a rate of bloodstream infections that was more than twice the national benchmark. The hospital declined to comment.
Harlem Hospital Center, in New York, our second lowest-scoring hospital, acknowledged that it needed to improve in some areas. It said it is "committed to offering high-quality health care to all New Yorkers regardless of their ability to pay." Kings County Hospital Center, in Brooklyn, N.Y., said its patients speak more than 100 languages. Both said they had recently seen drops in rates of infections and double CT scans.
Representatives at Our Lady of the Resurrection in Chicago said that it "had only one central-line-associated bloodstream infection over the entire past year" and "zero hospital-acquired conditions for more than seven months."
If those improvements are maintained and publicly reported, we will include them in future updated Ratings. (See the full statements from several low-scoring hospitals below.)
These Ratings are based on six categories of patient safety: hospital-acquired infections, readmissions, communication about medications and discharge, CT scanning, complications, and mortality. The data comes from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, state governments, and the Leapfrog Group, an independent organization that collects information on hospital safety. Our safety score doesn't look at all medical errors or assess how successful hospitals are at treating medical conditions. But they do provide a unique way to compare hospitals in your community and offer important information about hospital safety nationwide.
We have safety Ratings for only 18 percent of U.S. hospitals because data on patient harm are still not reported fully or consistently nationwide. But we have some information on hospital performance for 4,984 hospitals nationwide.
See our full hospital Ratings (available to subscribers). And read our new report How Safe Is Your Hospital?
Bottom 10 hospitals
(Scores are on a 1-to-100 scale.)
1. Sacred Heart Hospital, Chicago: 16
2. Harlem Hospital Center, New York: 20
3. Lake Regional Health System, Osage Beach, Mo.: 22
4. Kings County Hospital Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.: 22
5. Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center, Chicago: 23
6. Kimball Medical Center, Lakewood, N.J.: 24
7. St. Rose Dominican Hospitals-San Martin Campus, Las Vegas: 24
8. Clinch Valley Medical Center, Richlands, Va.: 25
9. Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla, N.Y.: 25
10. Hanford Community Medical Center, Hanford, Calif.: 25
Our Lady of the Resurrection Response 1 (PDF)
Our Lady of the Resurrection Response 2 (PDF)
Kings County Hospital Center's Response (PDF)
Harlem Hospital Response (PDF)