Midstate hospitals rank high in U.S. News’ annual list

Penn State Children’s Hospital was voted the third best children’s hospital in the state and Lancaster General Hospital and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center tied for fourth place among Pennsylvania’s best hospitals in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Hospitals in Pennsylvania report for 2020.

Every year, U.S. News evaluates hospitals across the country to create its Best Hospitals Honor Roll, a list of 20 hospitals that ranked highest in a scoring system that takes into account patient experience, nurse staffing and more.

While no hospitals in the midstate made it onto the media outlet’s short list, a number of regional hospitals were listed in the Pennsylvania rankings.

Topping the outlet’s statewide rankings was the Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania — Penn Presbyterian, Philadelphia, first place; UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside, Pittsburgh, second; and Jefferson Health-Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, Philadelphia, third.

Lancaster General Hospital and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center tied for fourth in the ranking. Harrisburg-based UPMC Pinnacle ranked ninth in the list and WellSpan York Hospital ranked 17th.

Penn State Children’s Hospital in Hershey ranked third in U.S. News’ Best Children’s Hospitals in Pennsylvania, ranking after Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Midstate hospital get high grades in Leapfrog study

Hospitals across the midstate mostly received high marks in a biannual safety ranking of the country’s hospitals.

The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C., ranked 2,600 hospitals across the country on a graded scale from A to F.

Hospitals receive a grade based on 28 measures of publicly available data such as infections, problems with surgeries and safety problems. The findings are compiled biannually by Leapfrog, who announced their fall 2019 report on Thursday.

Hospitals receiving A rankings included: UPMC Pinnacle Harrisburg, Community Osteopathic, West Shore and Carlisle; WellSpan Chambersburg, Ephrata Community and Gettysburg hospitals; Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center; and Lancaster General Hospital.

“A hospitals show us their leadership is protecting patients from preventable medical harm and error,” Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, said in a press release. “It takes genuine commitment at every level – from clinicians to administrators to the board of directors – and we congratulate the teams who have worked so hard to earn this A.”

WellSpan Health made a statement regarding their hospitals that received A rankings and noting their dedication to safe care.

“Leapfrog’s recognition in the form of so many top grades for UPMC hospitals across the state is a testament to the efforts of every physician, nurse and staff member who strive to create the best possible experience and outcomes for our patients,” said Tami Minnier, UPMC’s chief quality officer.

WellSpan Health representatives also commented on the ratings.

“These A grades demonstrate our staff’s dedication to quality and safety at every level of care,” said MaryEllen Pfeiffer, director of patient safety for WellSpan Health.

B ranked hospitals were also common in the midstate and included: WellSpan York and Good Samaritan in Lebanon; UPMC Pinnacle Memorial and Lititz; and Geisinger Holy Spirit.

Hospitals received lower grades on the report if they earned too many below average scores on the variety of measures. UPMC Pinnacle Hanover received the lowest grade in the region with a C.

Some of the measures UPMC Pinnacle Hanover received an F for included below average scores in infections of the blood, urinary tracts and surgical sites after colon surgery, and problems with surgery, such as surgical wound openings and collapsed lungs

The report follows critical findings with tips on how higher-scoring hospitals avoid problems.

Health of Pa.’s women and children subject of new report

Pennsylvania is reportedly in the middle of the pack when it comes to the health of its women and children, with the state seeing a low percentage of uninsured women and substance use disorder among teens but an increase in drug death rates among women and teen suicide over the last year.

The state ranked 27th in the country in the 2019 Health of Women and Children Report by the Minnesota-based United Health Foundation. The report highlights the strengths and challenges the state is facing regarding the health of its population of women and children.

The United Health Foundation is a nonprofit established by national insurance agency UnitedHealthcare. The nonprofit has offered its America’s Health Rankings reports for 30 years in topics such as senior health and overall national health.

This latest report utilizes data from sources such as the US Census Bureau, USDA and CDC to rank each state in measures like behaviors, community and environment, policy and clinical care.

“We choose to focus on the health of women, children and infants because we believe that their health is vital,” said Dr. Linda Genen, chief medical director of women’s health at Optum, a pharmacy benefit manager owned by UnitedHealth Group. “Promoting health in children starts with women receiving the care they need in their reproductive years.”

Since 2018, substance use disorder among Pennsylvania’s youth ages 12-17 decreased by 11 percent from 3.6 to 3.2 percent, making Pennsylvania the state with the least number of teens with substance use disorder in the country. Tobacco use decreased even further, moving from 9.1 percent of youths using tobacco products to 5.9 percent.

Genen noted that the data for cigarette use did not include data on e-cigarettes and vapes.

The foundation also reported that teen suicide has increased by 15 percent from 8.2 to 9.4 deaths per 100,000 adolescents. Genen said that Pennsylvania’s rise in teen suicide coincides with the country’s rise in suicide, which increased by 25 percent in 2019.

“Looking at the report, teen suicide is certainly an issue across the country,” she said, adding that the country has to make sure it is asking the right questions related to teen suicide. “What kind of research is out there? How can we help these children and what problems are they facing? Is it lack of support in the home?”

The state ranked 42nd in excessive drinking among women, with 23 percent of women ages 18-44 reporting that they binge drank in the past 30 days or drank more than eight alcoholic beverages a week.

Drug deaths among women are equally as worrying with Pennsylvania at a ranking of 46, highlighting the state’s ongoing battle with the opioid crisis. According to the report, over the past three years, drug related deaths increased by 75 percent from 19.1 to 33.4 deaths per 100,000 females aged 15-44.

On the positive end of the spectrum, only seven percent of women in Pennsylvania are uninsured, making it the eighth state with the most insured women.

Pennsylvania also leads the charge when it comes to women with dedicated health care providers and the percentage of women who took their babies for wellness checkups in 2019.