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Nearly a third of Michigan hospitals get A's in patient safety, but some problems persist

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

A new report finds patient safety varies widely across Michigan.

A Washington D.C.-based group looked at how hospitals across the U.S. handled problems like mistakes in the operating room, drug mix-ups and bed sores.

23 of 79 Michigan hospitals surveyed in the report earned an “A” grade in patient safety.  A half-dozen Michigan hospitals received D’s.  No Michigan hospital received an “F” for patient safety.

Erica Mobley is with the Leap Frog Group.  She says patient safety is becoming a bigger issue for hospitals.

“Given that hospitals are improving all their processes, that will soon show up in lower rates of errors in the outcome side,” says Mobley.

Earlier this week, the state hospital association released its own report showing dramatic improvement in patient safety.

The Michigan Health and Hospital Association claims participating state hospitals have reduced bed sores by a third in the last three years, and blood stream infections by two-thirds.  

The Association’s Sam Watson says Michigan hospitals have made an “aggressive” effort for the past decade to improve their "safety culture."

“This issue of patient safety is something that needs to be forefront in everyone’s minds,” says Watson.

Watson says Michigan hospitals are still working on improving pain management and other patient safety issues.  

Michigan’s largest nurses’ organization praises improvements to patient safety.

However, the head of the Michigan Nurses Association worries not enough attention is being paid to a critical area.

“When two of the top identifiable contributing factors to patient safety events involve stress and fatigue on the part of the healthcare workers, it’s time for every hospital/facility in Michigan to make sure they are adequately staffed with enough nurses for every patient,” says John Karebian, Michigan Nurses Association executive director. 

Here's a linkto see how individual Michigan hospitals scores on the Leap Frog Group study of patient safety:

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.