Loretto Hospital leapfrogs in patient safety report

The Austin institution earned an A grade on Leapfrog safety report, up from C's and D's in years past

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By Michael Romain


Loretto hospital, 645 S. Central Ave. in Austin, has significantly improved its patient safety grade on the most recent Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade report — going from habitually getting C's and D's on the report to earning an A in the fall 2019 report. 

Based in Washington, D.C., Leapfrog is a national nonprofit that grades hospitals across the country based on how well they prevent injuries, accidents, infections and errors. Leapfrog conducts its report twice a year. Hospitals participate in the report voluntarily. This fall, 46 of the 108 Illinois hospitals that participated in the Leapfrog survey received A grades while 19 got B grades and 39 got C grades.

According to the report, Loretto scores above average at preventing urinary tract infection, which can affect patients with catheters; and Clostridium difficile (C. diff), which is a bacterium "that can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and fever," according to Leapfrog. 

Loretto does not have data to measure how well it prevents blood infection, surgical site infection after colon surgery, and infection caused by staph bacteria, particularly Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which is "a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to (cannot be killed by) many antibiotics," according to Leapfrog. 

George N. Miller, Loretto's president and CEO, said in a press release that the hospital's improvement in the Leapfrog ratings is "the result of revamping the hospital's overall operations." Miller took over at Loretto in November 2017. 

"Over the past two years we have made quality our top priority," Miller said. "We realized having a strong operations is the only way to provide exemplary care to our patients. That is why we are rebuilding every area of  our operations to ensure our patients receives the same level of care on the West Side of Chicago as the people living downtown. 

"We want to improve the life expectancy of the residents we are privileged to serve. The only way to do this is by providing our patients with this highest quality of care in a safe holistic environment," Miller said.

Miller cited the implementation of "a number of quality and safety initiatives," which include organizing quality teams "to conduct patient rounds 24 hours a day," "morning safety huddles by hospital leadership," and "around-the-clock environment of care safety checks," among other initiatives. 

Loretto has also built a new Outpatient Infusion Therapy Center to treat chronically ill patients, built a new MRI service on-site and offers state-of-the-art mammography technology, among other improvements, hospital officials explained in the release. 

"All of these projects will continue to raise the community's awareness about who we are, what we do and why we are here in this community," Miller said. "We have a healing ministry. We are here to serve." 

CONTACT: michael@austinweeklynews.com  

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