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Many hospitals failing when it comes to nurse safety, Leapfrog report finds

The report follows recent nurse strikes over pay and safety.

Susan Morse, Managing Editor

Image from <em>California Nurses Association</em>.Image from California Nurses Association.

While awareness over nurse safety has grown, a new survey by The Leapfrog Group found 40 percent of hospitals fail to comply with all 21 endorsed safe practices in the field.

“Nurses provide the majority of patient care in hospitals and are critical to the safety and quality of any hospital,” Leapfrog said in its report.

While not mandatory, hospitals can demonstrate compliance with the 21 Leapfrog nursing workforce safe practices or, alternatively, achieve Magnet Status recognition from the American Nursing Credentials Center, to be recognized as a safe facility.

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The report follows recent nurse strikes over pay and safety, such as a California Nurses Association protest last month at five hospitals run by Sutter Health. Issues revolved around compensation and improved RN staffing, which is compromising patient safety,  National Nurses United Co-President Karen Higgins said at the time.

[Also: Nurses strike at 5 Sutter hospitals in California]

Sutter facilities earned an “A” or “B” from The Leapfrog Group, compared to 40 percent of hospitals in California that earned a “C” or below, according to the hospital rankings.

But while many facilities failed, there were signs of improvement in the report.

The Leapfrog safety accredited hospitals from 52 percent of hospitals in 2013 to 60 percent in 2014. Leapfrog-reporting hospitals achieving Magnet Status increased from 15.5 percent in 2013 to 16 percent in 2014.

Despite this increase, two in five reporting hospitals did not fully meet Leapfrog standards, according to the results analyzed by Castlight Health.

[Also: 20 hospitals fail Leapfrog safety ratings (list)]

Leapfrog’s standard for nursing is based on the National Quality Forum endorsed safe practices on nursing workforce, it stated.

The May 13 report was released at the end of National Nurses Week. The data was based on the 2014 Leapfrog Hospital Survey of 1,501 hospitals.

Nearly 58 percent of nurses are employed by hospitals.

Twitter: @SusanMorseHFN