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UVa Med Center Gets "D" Grade for Patient Safety

January 2, 2013

Nearly 30,000 patients are admitted to the University of Virginia Medical Center each year, but many of those patients may be leaving the hospital in worse shape than they arrived. According to the Leapfrog Group Hospital Safety Score, the UVa Med Center received a "D" grade in terms of preventable accidents, doctor error, and medical mistakes between 2009 and 2011.

"It's concerning to us, as it is to everyone," said Dr. Jonathon Truwit, the Chief Medical Officer at UVa. "We take our safety quality very serious and we know we are dramatically better than we were in the last three years."

In the area of death from complications after surgery, UVa scored 135.77, more than twice as high as the best performing hospital score of 54.9.

"Our target is to get to zero complications, and we're not there," said Truwit.

The state of Virginia fared better, ranking 8Th in the country in hospital safety. In the Commonwealth, 43% of hospitals made the "A" grade. In Central Virginia, only August Health in Fishersville got an "A". Martha Jefferson Hospital received a "B" grade.

Officials with Martha Jefferson released the following statement:

"Our top priority at Martha Jefferson is to provide safe, high-quality patient care. While we always strive to do our best, we also recognize there is always room to do better. We are currently focusing on improving our sepsis (blood infection) recognition and treatment rates and continue to place great emphasis on eliminating hospital acquired infections, as we know even just one infection is one too many. In addition, preventing patient falls has always been a high priority, and will continue to be a focus areas for us."

Meanwhile, UVa officials say one way they hope to cut down on preventable accidents is by doubling the number of doctors providing overnight care.

"We've put intensive care doctors in the hospital overnight and we are going to double that so we will have two intensive care doctors in-house overnight," Truwit said.

UVa scored above average in the area of nurse workforce and the hospital has the top survival rate out of academical hospitals in the state. Truwit said being a teaching hospital does present unique challenges in providing care.

"Other hospitals will send their patients to a teaching hospital when they don't do well at their hospital," Truwit said. "So we have our normal population of admissions but then we also have our transfer population, which adds to the complexity of care that we have to deliver."

To see the the full rankings of the hospital survey go to hospitalsafetyscore.org

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