PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Medical Center has received high marks for patient safety from two hospital rating services.
The hospital recently received the Healthgrades 2017 Patient Safety Excellence Award, and it also received an “A” grade in patient safety from the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit group that monitors hospital quality and safety. The Leapfrog Group has given BMC its top rating in patient safety since those grades were first issued in 2012.
BMC Chief Quality Officer Dr. Gray Ellrodt said the Healthgrades measure signifies that BMC is in the “top 10 percent [of hospitals] in the country in providing safe care for our patients.”
The 2017 Patient Safety Excellence Award places BMC among the top 10 percent of the country’s safest short-term acute care, or short-term treatment, hospitals. Only 460 hospitals across the country achieved the Patient Safety Excellence Award in 2017, according to Healthgrades.
“There’s somewhere around 5,000 hospitals in the U.S. and every one has to submit data to the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS),” Ellrodt said. “That data is analyzed by Healthgrades and every other organization. You get a score based on the objective evaluation of data.”
The ratings are out just as the hospital and a nurses union are in negotiations on a new contract. During this time, the Massachusetts Nursing Association has made claims that BMC’s staff-to-patient ratio is inadequate and compromises patient safety. The union held a picket at the hospital in February about staffing and a handful of letters to the editor from nurses also have raised the issue.
The unionized nurses have been working under an extension of the contract that expired on Sept. 30, 2016. The union wants the new contract to include the number of patients they are expected to care for at one time.
Berkshire Health Systems, parent company of BMC, has declined to comment on the contract negotiations, but it maintains its staffing guidelines are appropriate and meet the best practices of the American Nursing Association.
The disparate points of view between the two sides is an issue that has surfaced in previous contract negotiations.
“We don’t put much stock in these ratings at all,” said MNA spokesman David Schildmeier. “The facts on the ground are what counts.”
Based in Denver, Healthgrades Operating Co. provides information about physicians, hospitals and health care providers and has amassed information on more than 3 million U.S. health care providers.
To determine its 2017 patient safety ratings and the hospitals that received the patient safety excellence award, Healthgrades used Medicare inpatient data from the CMS to evaluate all of the country’s short-term acute care hospitals in the Medicare Provider Analysis and Review File between 2013 and 2015.
The MedPAR file is the national standard file for inpatient records for all the hospitals in the U.S. Data from that file is used for 85 to 90 percent of the awards and calculations…