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  • Rich Klein


HARRIS - - Garnet Health/ Catskills moved from up from a grade of D to a C in the latest rankings of 2,700 acute-care hospitals in the nation conducted by The Leapfrog Group, which measures public safety. The report was issued in late April and was based on data collected from 2017 through 2019.

And Garnet Health/Middletown, for the second time in a row, received a grade of C , including a below average score in the section called “deaths from treatable complications after surgery.”

According to Leapfrog: “Sometimes after surgery, patients can develop serious complications while they are in the hospital. They might catch pneumonia, have a heart attack, or lose function in their kidneys or liver. These problems are serious but can be treated by a good hospital team. If the hospital doesn’t manage the patient’s complications correctly, the patient could die.” Garnet Health/Middletown recorded a score of 190.32 in this area. That number represents the number of surgical patients that died for every 1,000 people who had a serious treatable complication after surgery. The Garnet/ Harris facility did not provide data to Leapfrog in this section.

One of the most significant findings in the Harris campus report showed that it scored poorly in the area of “serious breathing problems after surgery.”

“After surgery some patients can develop a serious breathing problem,” the report says generally about the section. “Their lungs either cannot take in enough oxygen or cannot get rid of carbon dioxide. Without immediate care, the patient can lose consciousness, fall into a coma, or even die.”

The report also showed that Harris has had a shortage of qualified nurses as well as a sufficient number of “specially trained doctors care for ICU patients.”

The Middletown campus had other significant problems that were identified in the report. They included below average scores in the following areas:

-Dangerous blood clots during surgery

- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections

--Clostridium difficile

--Infections in the blood

--Infections in the urinary tract

--Surgical site infection after colon surgery

- Handwashing

-Communication about medicines

-Communication about discharge

-Staff work together to prevent errors

-Dangerous falls and injuries

-Patient communication with doctors

-Responsiveness of hospital staff.

Much of the data recorded for the issues above in Middletown was not similarly available in the report on the Harris facility (particularly in the area of infections) but no reason is given by Leapfrog. The SullivanTimes on Tuesday reached out to the hospital for comment on the grades and the reports at both facilities. On its website, Garnet touts its "exceptional care."

Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades (formerly known as Hospital Safety Scores) are assigned to over 2,700 general acute-care hospitals across the nation twice annually. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade states that it uses up to 27 national performance measures from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Leapfrog Hospital Survey and information from other supplemental data sources. Taken together, those performance measures produce a single letter grade representing a hospital’s overall performance in keeping patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade methodology has been peer reviewed and published in the Journal of Patient Safety.


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