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One in 25 patients develop an infection while in the hospital, according to federal estimates. Many of those infections and other medical mistakes are preventable. Nationally, an estimated 440,000 people die each year from hospital errors, injuries and infections.
A recent report card from the nonprofit Leapfrog Group showed there’s plenty of room for improvement by California hospitals on a wide range of patient safety measures. Nearly half of the 271 California hospitals that were reviewed received a grade of C or lower.
Some hospitals scored poorly for not doing enough to prevent certain drug-resistant infections, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, which can cause pneumonia and bloodstream infections. Other problems include hospitals leaving dangerous objects inside patients during surgery or not doing enough to prevent patient falls.
But consumers don’t have to be in the dark about all this. In addition to Leapfrog’s hospital safety grades, there are government sites to turn to. The California Department of Public Health offers an interactive map on hospital infection rates and Medicare publishes star ratings on overall quality.
Chad Terhune, a senior correspondent at California Healthline and Kaiser Health News, discussed the latest California hospital scores and what they mean for consumers with A Martinez, host of the “Take Two” show on KPCC.