Shopping for health care services is not something we are accustomed to doing as consumers, at least not in the way we do it with other goods and services. There are multiple reasons for this, including the fact that data pertaining to the quality of health care providers and facilities is not as readily available for consumers as similar data is for other consumer goods and services. Some organizations, such as The Leapfrog Group, are working to change that, particularly through its annual hospital safety survey.
According to the group’s most recent survey, 19 of the 80—or nearly 24 percent—Michigan hospitals that participated in the survey received the group’s highest safety grade. That puts Michigan hospitals at number 21 in terms of nationwide safety ranking. Of the other hospitals, 28 received a grade of B, 29 received a grade of C and one a grade of D. Three hospitals reportedly received the worst possible grade.
The survey, of course, is somewhat limited given that nearly half of the nation’s hospitals do not participate. Here in Michigan, roughly 62 percent of the state’s hospitals participated. Patients, of course, can really stand to benefit from having the ability to gauge the safety performance of health care facilities. Allowing the market to play out more normally in the health care sector could potentially help improve the quality of services.
Of course, those who are harmed by the receipt of substandard medical care, whether at a highly rated facility or a facility with a poor safety grade, need to have a strong advocate to help them assess liability in their case and to determine the best way to obtain compensation.