CORTLANDT, N.Y. — Two northern Westchester hospitals were ranked with "A" safety ratings by the Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit run by employers and other large purchasers of health benefits.
Hudson Valley Hospital Center in Cortlandt Manor and Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco received "A" ratings based on publicly available data on patient injuries, medical and medication errors, and infections. U.S. hospitals were assigned ratings of an A, B, C, D or F for their safety.
“Patient safety is an everyday focus for our hospital,” said John C. Federspiel, president of Hudson Valley Hospital Center. “Our entire management team, along with our medical staff and board members, are involved. We strive to excel on every level of care for our patients.”
Some of Westchester's largest hospitals, including Phelps Memorial Hospital in Sleepy Hollow, Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla and Sound Shore Medical Center of Westchester in New Rochelle received "C" ratings from the Leapfrog Group.
The score is calculated with guidance from a nine-member panel, using 26 measures of hospital safety data. Members of the panel include professors of health and physicians from Harvard University, Stanford University and Johns Hopkins University, among others.
Examples of the data collected include central line-associated blood stream infections, or CLABSI, death from complications after surgery and incidences of foreign objects "retained after surgery."
CLABSI are associated with improper cleaning or care of tubes inserted into patient's large veins to deliver medicine. Without proper care, the tubes can become conduits for germs and can increase hospital stays or cause other complications.
Leapfrog Group says death rates of post-surgery complications as sometimes "unavoidable," but high rates of such complications "may be a sign that patients were not watched closely enough after surgery." Westchester Medical Center scored at 154.22; the Leapfrog Group considers a poor score to be 167.33. Hudson Valley Hospital Center scored 100.39, and Northern Westchester Hospital scored 106.42.
Foreign objects "retained after surgery" is a rating for objects such as surgical instruments or sponges left inside a patient after surgery. Although these instances are rare, they can be deadly or cause serious complications.
According to The Leapfrog Group, the frequency increases during emergency or unplanned surgeries. Hudson Valley Hospital Center, Northern Westchester Hospital and Westchester Medical Center had a zero rate of this, considered the best score. Phelps Memorial Hospital had a score of 0.176; the Leapfrog Group considers 0.39 a poor score. The study's data was collected between April 2010 and March 2011.
“It’s the Leapfrog Group’s goal to give patients the information they need and deserve before even entering a hospital,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of the Leapfrog Group. “We congratulate the hospitals that earned an ‘A’ and we look forward to the day when all hospitals in the U.S. will earn the highest scores for putting patient safety first.”