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Today, WANE-TV reported on the 2017 Leapfrog report comparing hospitals (http://wane.com/…/nonprofit-watchdog-group-releases-2017-h…/). As WANE reports, “Parkview Regional Medical Center received an A grade, while the three facilities run by Lutheran Health Network all received a D grade.”

According to its website, “The Leapfrog Group is an independent, national not-for-profit organization founded more than a decade ago by the nation’s leading employers and private healthcare experts. We strive to make giant leaps forward in the safety, quality, and affordability of healthcare in the U.S. by promoting transparency through our data collection and public reporting initiatives. With our goal of saving lives by reducing errors, injuries, accidents, and infections, The Leapfrog Group focuses on measuring and publicly reporting hospital performance through the annual Leapfrog Hospital Survey. The survey is a trusted, transparent and evidence-based national tool in which more than 1,800 hospitals voluntarily participate free of charge.”

What Does This Mean?
Leapfrog data helps people to choose wisely, using data and comparing trends over time. It’s Safety grades use 27 measures that are reasonable and achievable (see http://www.hospitalsafetygrade.org/your-hos…/about-the-grade)

Dupont’s score over time reveals a significant decline after Community Health Systems (CHS) began incurring huge debts
Congratulations are due to CHS’s hospital in Bluffton for scoring well and seeing little decline while dealing with budget constraints.

Cost-cutting that relies on low nursing staff levels appears to be a root-cause of low grades. It would seem that the Federal “Medicare Compare” site agrees with Leapfrog on this point.
When hiring CEOs for local hospitals, it would seem prudent to examine the records of their previous institutions with regard to Leapfrog measures.

This data makes the point once again that it is unlikely that CHS can achieve necessary quality for the entirety of LHN with a budget of $500 million for improvements to be made over 6 years–as they have repeatedly promised. As stated previously, $100 million (and probably more) is needed to update the LHN electronic medical record alone, and another $100 million to build (if ever) a replacement for St. Joseph’s hospital. To reach Leapfrog levels, nursing and medical staff increases will take $30 million each year, or $180 million over the six years. That leaves $20 million per year for a capital expenditures budget that was, in past years, far too low at an annual $40 million. A sad commentary.

Here are Leapfrog’s complete scorecards for the hospitals referenced above:

Lutheran Hospital of Indiana http://www.hospitalsafetygrade.org/h/lutheran-hospital-of-i…

Parkview Regional Medical Center http://www.hospitalsafetygrade.org/h/parkview-hospital…

Dupont Hospital http://www.hospitalsafetygrade.org/h/dupont-hospital…

St. Joseph Hospital of Fort Wayne
http://www.hospitalsafetygrade.org/h/st-joseph-hospital-of-…

Bluffton Regional Medical Center
http://www.hospitalsafetygrade.org/h/bluffton-regional-medi…