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In-Depth Review: San Antonio Hospitals Improve in Infection Prevention and Patient Safety, Despite Existing Challenges

In a promising turn of events, the majority of San Antonio hospitals have demonstrated improvement in preventing medical mishaps, ranging from errors to accidents and infections, according to a recent hospital safety report. The semi-annual Hospital Safety Grade report was issued on Monday by the nonprofit organization The Leapfrog Group. However, some previously top-ranked hospitals have faced penalties due to high complication rates.

Exhibit A of these improvements comes from San Antonio’s University Health and Christus Santa Rosa Hospital of New Braunfels, both earning A grades for the very first time. On a less positive note, Resolute Health Hospital of New Braunfels experienced a fall from grace, slipping from an A-grade establishment to garnering a C rating in this reporting period.

The Hospital Safety Grade report operates on a nationwide scale, rating approximately 3000 general hospitals based on their safety practices. The aim is to provide patients with access to vital information, enabling them to make informed choices regarding their healthcare providers. Hospital medical errors, coupled with infections and injuries, result in over 500 patient deaths daily, hence the importance of this report.

The report’s grading system, ranging from A to F, draws its data from various sources, including the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and its hospital survey. The latest Fall 2023 grades, marking the inaugural post-pandemic grading period, reflect data between October 2021 to December 2022. Interestingly, the score distribution shows nearly 30% of general hospitals earning an A, 24% a B, 39% a C, and 7% a D; less than 1% of hospitals were assigned an F.

In terms of regional performance, Texas featured among the top ten states for A-grade hospitals. San Antonio’s University Health achieved its first A safety grade due to measures to cut down on hospital-acquired infections and surgical complications, thereby improving patient safety. University Health has been noted for high-quality, compassionate care delivery in tandem with their efforts to enhance patient safety and care standards. Still, the Leapfrog Group’s report outlines room for improvement, particularly in aspects of doctor-patient and nurse-patient communication, as well as hospital staff responsiveness.

The Metropolitan Methodist Hospital in downtown San Antonio also increased its safety grade from a B to an A. However, some hospital facilities continue to grapple with less-than-ideal ratings. For instance, Christus Santa Rosa Medical Center and Christus Santa Rosa Hospital at Westover Hills are among the C-grade hospitals, with areas that require improvement encompassing safe medication administration, effective leadership to prevent errors, and a reduction in harmful events such as infections in the blood and dangerous bed sores.

In conclusion, despite the notable improvements recorded, the report underscores an ongoing need for attention toward enhancing patient experience, reducing preventable medical errors, and tackling staffing shortages.


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