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Alaska hospitals not as safe as those in most other states

Hospital safety in Alaska was among the worst in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report.

The state ranked 41st in the nation for its hospital safety, with only 16.7% of its hospitals analyzed by The Leapfrog Group receiving an “A” grade.

The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization that reports on hospital performance and assigns letter grades to acute-care hospitals based on their patient safety.

It found a significant decline in safety occurred during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Recent studies have shown that the pandemic has reversed years of progress on patient safety efforts,” the authors wrote. “The updated data included in the Safety Grade, some of which reflects a pandemic‐era time frame, heighten these findings and demonstrate how patient care worsened due to strains on the health care system and workforce.”

The group analyzed nearly 3,000 hospitals across the U.S., looking at national patient safety measures from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services plus other supplemental data sources.

Not only did the report find a decline in patient safety, but it also found patients were less likely to feel their voices were being heard by their doctors and nurses. Responses to the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Hospital Survey (HCAHPS) demonstrated patients’ experience with their inpatient hospital care declined during the pandemic and adult inpatients reported less favorably across nearly all domains of patient experience, the report said.

It found fewer patients felt doctors and nurses carefully listened to them or treated them with respect. Patients were also less likely to give favorable responses to questions about the responsiveness of hospital staff or communication about medicines mid-pandemic than pre-pandemic.

The report said worsening areas of patient experience correlated with key patient safety indicators, further demonstrating the pandemic negatively impacted hospital safety.

“Patient experience is a critical indicator of safety in hospitals,” the report said. “Studies show that facilities that provide better experiences for patients tend to provide safer, higher quality care. Leapfrog’s assessment of the HCAHPS survey results between a pre-COVD and mid-COVID timeframe uncovers and further confirms patient safety lapses associated with the pandemic time frame. Areas of patient experience that were already in dire need of improvement before the pandemic began, like transitioning care once out of the hospital, communicating about medications, and hospital staff responsiveness, worsened the most during the pandemic.”

States that performed the best were North Carolina, Virginia, Utah, Colorado, and Michigan. However, no state had more than 60% of its hospitals receive an “A” grade for patient safety.

This article was originally posted on Alaska hospitals not as safe as those in most other states

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