Area hospitals show little progress in safety scores

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
(Stefano Paltera / For The Times)

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center improved slightly from an F to a D in a national hospital safety report released Wednesday, while Cedars-Sinai Medical Center stayed at a C grade.

The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit healthcare quality organization, based the scores on an analysis of infections, injuries, medication errors and other problems that cause patient harm or death. The organization publicizes the scores in an effort to inform patients and reduce safety problems, said Leah Binder, president and chief executive of the organization.

“It is not enough for hospitals to promise they will do everything they can to address patient safety,” she said. “It takes more than that. It takes patients and others in the community to publicly demand improvements.”


Each year, 180,000 people die nationwide from hospital errors and injuries, according to the organization. Hospital executives, patients, relatives and unions all play a role in making hospitals safer, Binder said. Patients can check the grades of their hospitals at

California ranked 11th for the number of hospitals with an A grade. Among the local hospitals that received the highest safety scores were Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood, UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica and Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. Nearly all of the state’s Kaiser hospitals also received A grades.

There were just a few F grades in the state, including Western Anaheim Medical Center and Victor Valley Community Hospital in Victorville.

UCLA Health Sciences spokeswoman Roxanne Yamaguchi Moster said the score was based on data from 2009 to 2011 and she expected to see “significant improvement” going forward.

“We are disappointed, but not surprised by the latest Leapfrog rating and know that it does not reflect in any way the quality of care the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center provides its patients,” she said in an email.

The three county hospitals had mixed scores, with L.A. County/USC Medical Center and Harbor/UCLA Medical Center receiving C grades and Olive View Medical Center getting an A grade.

California requires hospitals to report certain errors and fines them for mistakes that kill or seriously injure patients. Neither Medicaid nor Medicare pays hospitals for costs incurred by certain preventable errors.

About three-quarters of the hospitals kept the same grades as in November, when the group issued its last report. About 10% of hospitals improved and 15% dropped to lower grades.

“It is very unfortunate and distressing that we don’t see more progress in this data,” Binder said.

The Leapfrog Group analyzed 2,514 acute care hospitals around the nation, and gave out 780 A grades, 638 Bs, 932 Cs, 148 Ds and 16 Fs.


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