Almost 40% of California hospitals graded C or lower for patient safety

How safe is your hospital? Check out new California ratings online

Nearly four in 10 California hospitals received a grade of C or lower for  patient safety in a new national report card aimed at prodding medical centers to do more to prevent injuries and deaths.

The Leapfrog Group, an employer-backed nonprofit group focused on healthcare quality, issued its latest scores Wednesday, it said, so consumers and employers can be aware of poorly performing hospitals before using them.

"There is absolutely room for improvement," said Leah Binder, Leapfrog's president and chief executive, of figures showing that 37% of California hospitals received a C, D or F grade.

Grades were issued Wednesday to 2,523 U.S. hospitals, including 248 in California.

The Times has published an interactive map of California hospital scores online in addition to other helpful hospital resources for consumers.

Since 2012, Leapfrog has been analyzing information it collects as well as data reported to Medicare.

The results indicate improvement in safety processes related to surgery and the use of computerized prescribing systems to avoid mistakes. But hospital performance on reducing infections, accidents and errors hasn't significantly improved, according to Leapfrog.

In Wednesday's data, 43% of California hospitals received an A rating — the seventh-highest rate among states nationwide. That's up from 40% three years ago.

Twenty-nine California hospitals have achieved straight A's on patient safety since Leapfrog began issuing ratings in spring 2012.

Healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente has 17 of its hospitals on that list, including its medical centers in West Los Angeles and Riverside.

Other straight-A performers across the Southland include Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and Desert Valley Hospital in Victorville.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center earned a B grade and UCLA's Ronald Reagan Medical Center received a C.

Nationwide, medical experts say about 400,000 lives are lost annually to hospital errors. One in every 25 hospital patients will contract a new infection during their stay, according the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Times staff writer Jon Schleuss contributed to this report.

Twitter: @chadterhune

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