A report was recently published showing how U.S. hospitals are performing in key aspects of patient safety. The Leapfrog Group is a non-profit organization that advocates for safety in the nation’s medical facilities. The states that performed the best included California, Florida, New Jersey and Texas. In recent years hospitals in Maryland had ranked poorly in preventing infections, limiting medical mistakes and reducing injuries. How did Maryland’s facilities rank this year?
Maryland Hospitals Receiving “A” Rating
- Anne Arundel Medical Center
- Greater Baltimore Medical Center
- Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
- Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore
- MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital in Leonardtown
- Peninsula Regional Medical Center
- University of Maryland’s Charles Regional Medical Center
- University of Maryland’s St. Joseph Medical Center
Medical Malpractice: “Never Events”
A key factor that is considered in the Leapfrog report involves the number of “never events”. These are medical errors that should “never” happen and likely lead to cases of malpractice. These events often result in catastrophic injuries and harm the reputation of both medical practitioners and the hospital where they occurred. Leapfrog also requests that hospitals implement a quality protocol that consists of the following four steps if a never event occurs:
- Promptly notify and apologize to the patient and their family
- Waive all service and treatment costs incurred and provide follow-up care
- Notify appropriate state regulatory agency
- Create a report indicating how and why the error occurred known as a “root-cause analysis”
Prior Problems at Maryland Facilities
Some Maryland facilities have struggled with key aspects of patient safety in recent years. In 2017, the majority of the state’s hospitals received a “C” rating. Bon Secours Hospital in Baltimore was the lone facility that received an “F”. David Simon of the Maryland Hospital Association acknowledged that many sites ranked poorly; however, he noted that between 2013 and 2016 there was a 43% reduction in medical complications statewide.
Overview of Maryland Hospital Data
Statewide Data 
Total number of facilities
Total number of beds
Total number of discharges
Number of employees (Direct)
Number of jobs supported indirectly
Number of uninsured patients treated
The Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA) was implemented in 1986 to require that hospital emergency units provide care for everyone regardless of whether they are capable of paying. Hospitals struggle with covering their losses from providing treatment to those without insurance coverage and/or minimal income.
Violation’s of the EMTALA can result in large civil penalties designed to discourage prematurely discharging or “dumping” patients for financial reasons. Last year, the University of Maryland Medical Center received a citation for leaving a patient with mental problems at a bus stop. It was a cold evening and the patient was wearing only a hospital gown.
David Simon says that they are looking to increase the quality of care provided statewide. He also says that safety rankings and reports are based on data collected from various sources and suggested that they may not be fully accurate. Leah Binder, president of Leapfrog Group, says that medical mistakes and hospital-acquired infections are the third most common cause of preventable death in the U.S. She further explained that residents of Maryland “deserve to know” this type of information regarding their hospitals.
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