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By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Operating room, CC by ND via Bing

May 10, 2022 (San Diego) -- The Spring 2022 Hospital Safety Grades report released today by The Leapfrog Group, an independent nonprofit health care watchdog organization,  gave most local hospitals an “A” rating for patient safety during the pandemic, including Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, which serves East County. But East County’s other hospital, Alvarado Hospital Medical Center, received a dismal “C” rating due largely to its below average performance in preventing infections including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics. 

Life-threatening MRSA infections can be spread when medical providers fail to wash their hands between patients. Alvarado received the worst rating of any hospital for both MRSA infections and Clostridium difficileinfections. The hospital also ranked poorly on urinary tract infections and failed to provide information requested on surgical site infections after colon surgery.  The report also cited communications issues in need of improvement. 


Alvarado had better ratings in other categories, including having enough doctors and nurses, as well as many other safety problems ranging from falls to bed sores and serious breathing problems.  It also received the highest rating among all hospitals for its use of a computerized medication system to avoid medication errors that may occur with handwritten prescriptions. 


Alvarado had an A grade in 2019 and 2020, but fell to a B grade in fall 2021 and now to a C grade in spring 2022.


Sharp Grossmont ranked above average in nearly every category in the spring 2022 ratings, but did rank below average in some communications and some post-surgical complications.  Sharp Grossmont Hospital had an A grade as well in fall 2021, an improvement from B grades in 2020 and 2019.  


The Leapfrog Group’s Patient Experience During the Pandemic: Adult Inpatient Care, also released today, found that across the nation overall, the pandemic has had a negative effect on health care delivery “at every level and setting, from staffing shortages to increased infections to the very care patients receive.”

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