Hospital Safety grades: Group gives Wilkes-Barre General a D, Geisinger an A

By Mark Guydish - [email protected]
Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. -

Wilkes-Barre General Hospital got a D in this year’s Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade report released Thursday. Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazleton and Geisinger Wyoming Valley both received A grades.

The Leapfrog Group bills itself as “an independent, national not-for-profit organization founded more than a decade ago by the nation’s leading employers and private health care experts.” The single letter grade is derived from 28 measures, the data coming from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Leapfrog’s own hospital survey, and other sources.

The 28 measures are broken down into five categories: Infections, problems with surgery, practices to prevent errors, safety problems and doctors, nurses and hospital staff. Each category is comprised of four to seven of the measures, and each measure is given a performance rating of red (below average), yellow (average) or green (above average). Some measures have no data and are listed as “declined to report.”

Wilkes-Barre General Hospital had below average measures in every category.

• Infections — of the five measures, MRSA (resistant staphylococcus) and Clostridium difficile infections were below average. The other three where above average.

• Problems with surgery — three of seven measures were below average: Surgical wound splits open, serious breathing problems and dangerous blood clots. The hospital was average in the collapsed lung measure and above average in the others.

• Practices to prevent errors — two measures were marked “declined to report” while the other four were below average: Doctors order medications through a computer, safe medication administration, communication about medicines and communication about discharge.

• Safety problems — one category was marked declined to report, one was above average, and two were below average: Dangerous bed sores and patient falls and injuries.

• Doctors, nurses and hospital staff — two of six measures were marked declined not to report, the other four were below average: Specially trained doctors care for ICU patients, communication with doctors, communication with nurses and responsiveness of hospital staff.

Wilkes-Barre General issued a written response:

“Wilkes-Barre General Hospital is committed to providing safe, quality care for every patient. Our hospital continues to take every opportunity to further increase quality and service. Our hospital has reduced serious safety events by 82% over the past three years after the implementation of a high reliability culture. This year Wilkes-Barre General Hospital was chosen by The Hospital and Health Association of Pennsylvania to receive recognition for excellence in patient safety and was awarded Geriatric Emergency Department accreditation from the American College of Emergency Physicians. Tracking quality data, daily attention to process improvement and collaboration between our employees and the medical staff support the delivery of quality care and our improvements over time. When choosing where to receive medical care, we encourage consumers to consider a variety of factors including speaking with their physician about their individual care plan. “

Getting an overall grade of A does not mean an absence of below average ratings. Geisinger Wyoming Valley had nine of 28 measures below average: C. diff infection, infection in blood, surgical wound splits open, collapsed lung, dangerous blood clot, accidental cuts and tears, safe medication administration, communication about medicines, and staff work together to prevent errors.

Lehigh Valley-Hazleton had six measures below average: Death from serious treatable complications, serious breathing problems, accidental cuts and tears, communication about medicines, specially trained doctor care for ICU patients, and responsiveness of hospital staff.

Grades for all rated hospitals are online at

Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. General Hospital.

By Mark Guydish

[email protected]

Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish

Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish