Study shows Coachella Valley hospitals have room for improvment


A recent national study published on hospitalsafetyscore.org shows all three Coachella Valley hospitals have work to do when it comes to keeping their patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors.

More than 2500 hospitals across the United States are analyzed and given a letter grade by the only publicly accessible standard of hospital safety available free to the public.

The study (administered by Leapfrog) targets a hospital's ability to prevent infections, eliminate errors and injuries. 

Desert Regional Medical Center received the highest grade among the three Coachella Valley hospitals with a 'B.'

Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage and JFK Memorial Hospital in Indio both received a 'C'.

"We are shooting for an "A," said Desert Regional Medical Center spokesman, Richard Ramhoff.  "We won't be satisfied until we get an "A." 

Ramhoff says studies such as this help hospitals to improve their performance.

"Desert Regional Medical Center is committed to, and we use survey's like this, as well as publicly reported data," Ramhoff said. 

"A lot of the data in this survey is from publicly reported quality data, but we also participate in the Leapfrog survey, and not every hospital does that."

Eisenhower Medical Center issued this statement about it's grade:

"Participation in Leapfrog's survey is voluntary, and Eisenhower Medical Center did not participate in this particular year. As a result, Leapfrog only included data about Eisenhower that they could gather from other sources, leaving a number of unanswered items and therefore, lowering the overall score. Eisenhower Medical Center intends to participate in Leapfrog's survey going forward, and with complete information, we expect to see a higher score." 

More than 2500 hospitals nationwide were included in the Leapfrog study. More than 1100 of the hospitals participated free of charge. 

A representative from JFK issued this statement:

"Providing safe, high-quality care to our patients is the primary focus of everything we do, and we are committed to using evidence-based guidelines to provide the best possible care to our patients. We regularly evaluate our patient care processes and have a number of initiatives in place to help us continually improve and enhance the quality and safety of our care. While scoring methods differ by organization and none provide a complete picture of the care provided to patients, we use this and other publicly available information to continually improve our culture of safety."

Insurance companies dictate many aspects of a patient's health care services, but consumers we spoke with were happy to have the information available to them.

"I think it is valuable," said Barbara Forgeron. "I don't think patients are aware of it. As a consumer I don't know that I'm aware of it. I think that as consumers we make wise decisions on other aspects of our lives. We certainly shop around for the kind of car we are going to purchase or where we buy our groceries. we should be informed where we have our medical procedures done."

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