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North Bay hospitals by the numbers

North Bay hospitals’ 2019 patient safety grades, as rated by The Leapfrog Group:

Grade “A”

Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center

Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center

Kaiser Permanente Vallejo Medical Center

Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital

Queen of the Valley Medical Center, Napa

Adventist Health Ukiah Valley

GRADE “B”

Kaiser Permanente Vacaville Medical Center

NorthBay VacaValley Hospital, Vacaville

Adventist Health St. Helena

Sonoma Valley Hospital

Petaluma Valley Hospital

Grade “C”

North Bay Medical Center, Fairfield

Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital

Novato Community Hospital

Marin General Hospital

Grade “D”

Sutter Solano Medical Center, Vallejo

What do the grades mean?

Even “A” hospitals are not perfectly safe, but researchers found they are getting safer. If all hospitals had an avoidable death rate equivalent to “A” hospitals, 50,000 lives would have been saved, versus 33,000 lives that would have been saved by “A” level performance in 2016.

Patients at “B” hospitals on average face a 35% greater risk of avoidable death

Patients at “C” hospitals on average face an 88% greater risk of avoidable death

Patients at “D” and “F” hospitals face a 92% greater risk of avoidable death

Source: The Leapfrog Group’s spring 2019 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades, hospitalsafetygrade.org

Six of 15 North Bay hospitals received “A” ratings in a national nonprofit’s annual assessment of the care they provide.

The Leapfrog Group’s spring 2019 Hospital Safety Grades report — the first of its twice-yearly findings — gave “A” ratings to three of the four Kaiser Permanente hospitals in the area: Santa Rosa Medical Center, San Rafael Medical Center and Vallejo Medical Center.

“We have continuously received these top A-grade scores since the grading system began in 2012,” Tarek Salaway, senior vice president and area manager, Kaiser Permanente Marin-Sonoma service area, said in a statement. “This reflects the ongoing commitment by our physicians, nurses and staff to provide safe, compassionate, high-quality care to the communities we serve.”

Kaiser’s Vacaville Medical Center in Solano County received a “B” grade, unchanged from the fall 2018 Hospital Safety Grades report.

The Leapfrog Group was founded in 2000 by a group of business leaders. In 2012, it launched its Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade report to help consumers make informed decisions about where to seek hospital care.

Leapfrog states the safety ratings given to hospitals are based on the basics of medical care, such as hand-washing, entering prescriptions through a computer, and the availability of highly trained nurses. It also looks at the preventive measures hospitals take to prevent falls, as well as the potential for blood infections. Patients who have a tube inserted into their body to deliver medication and other treatments are at high risk for developing a dangerous infection in the blood, according to Leapfrog.

Other North Bay hospitals earning an “A” grade from Leapfrog include Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, a St. Joseph Health hospital. The hospital also scored an “A” in fall 2018.

“Our caregivers are dedicated to providing the highest quality of care to our patients each and every day,” said Larry Coomes, chief executive at St. Joseph Health's Queen of the Valley Medical Center. “We are pleased to be recognized once again for our commitment to patient safety.”

Two other St. Joseph Health facilities, however, scored lower.

Petaluma Valley Hospital and Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital were graded “B” and “C,” respectively. Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital’s grade was unchanged from fall 2018, while Petaluma Valley Hospital moved up a grade.

“We appreciate any metrics that help us find ways we can improve our care and patient experiences, and we fully support Leapfrog’s work to provide publicly available, comparative information for patients,” St. Joseph Health said in a statement, referring to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. “Unfortunately, private reporting agencies like Leapfrog each have their own proprietary scoring methodologies, which can make reporting difficult and complex.”

In the statement, St. Joseph Health also said Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital regularly performs rigorous internal reviews of its quality and safety.

“Our quality care has been reflected in the data we report to CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid), which has consistently ranked our hospital at or above the national average for quality,” according to the statement. “We are confident in our delivery of safe, high-quality care.”

Sonoma Valley Hospital, which over the last year has made several operational moves to cut costs, rose to a “B” in spring 2019 after scoring a “C” in fall 2018. Both Kelly Mather, CEO, and the hospital’s director of quality were unavailable for comment, according to a hospital spokesperson.

North Bay hospitals by the numbers

North Bay hospitals’ 2019 patient safety grades, as rated by The Leapfrog Group:

Grade “A”

Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center

Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center

Kaiser Permanente Vallejo Medical Center

Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital

Queen of the Valley Medical Center, Napa

Adventist Health Ukiah Valley

GRADE “B”

Kaiser Permanente Vacaville Medical Center

NorthBay VacaValley Hospital, Vacaville

Adventist Health St. Helena

Sonoma Valley Hospital

Petaluma Valley Hospital

Grade “C”

North Bay Medical Center, Fairfield

Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital

Novato Community Hospital

Marin General Hospital

Grade “D”

Sutter Solano Medical Center, Vallejo

What do the grades mean?

Even “A” hospitals are not perfectly safe, but researchers found they are getting safer. If all hospitals had an avoidable death rate equivalent to “A” hospitals, 50,000 lives would have been saved, versus 33,000 lives that would have been saved by “A” level performance in 2016.

Patients at “B” hospitals on average face a 35% greater risk of avoidable death

Patients at “C” hospitals on average face an 88% greater risk of avoidable death

Patients at “D” and “F” hospitals face a 92% greater risk of avoidable death

Source: The Leapfrog Group’s spring 2019 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades, hospitalsafetygrade.org

In Mendocino County, an “A” grade was issued to Adventist Health Ukiah Valley, a move up after having held steady at “B” in both fall and spring of 2018.

“Our patients and community deserve the very best care here, locally, and to have received this “A” safety grade is an example of the quality health care we provide here in Mendocino County,” said Jason Wells, president of Adventist Health Ukiah Valley.

Meanwhile, Adventist Health St. Helena dropped from an “A” in fall 2018, to a “B” this spring.

Sutter Health received disparate grades in its two hospitals in the North Bay.

Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital received an “A,” holding its top grade since fall 2016. However, Sutter Solano Medical Center in Vallejo was graded “D,” as it did last fall.

“Sutter Health is proud of the high-quality health care our integrated network provides Northern Californians. We did not participate in Leapfrog’s survey this year and the results do not fully reflect the care Sutter hospitals provide to patients,” a Sutter spokesperson said in a statement. “Instead, Sutter Health network facilities work with the Hospital Quality Institute and share quality data that demonstrates those facilities consistently outperform state and national averages for many measures of quality.”

Sutter also said it encourages patients “to use all of the tools at their disposal when making health care decisions. This could include talking with friends and family, reviewing available quality data and consulting with doctors, nurses and other health care providers regarding specific outcomes related to their care.”

Staff Writer Cheryl Sarfaty covers tourism, hospitality, health care and education. Reach her at cheryl.sarfaty@busjrnl.com or 707-521-4259.