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Overlake Among Top 5 Percent in the Nation for Patient Safety for Two Consecutive Years

Patient Safety Events Cost the Medicare Program $6.9 Billion between 2005 and 2007

Patient Safety Excellence Award
Bellevue, WA (April 7, 2009) – Overlake Hospital Medical Center was identified as one of the recipients of the 2009 HealthGrades® Patient Safety Excellence Award™. The top 5 percent of all hospitals in the U.S., 242 hospitals, were recognized with this award in a report issued today by the leading independent healthcare ratings organization.

If all hospitals performed at the level of Patient Safety Excellence Award hospitals, approximately 211,697 patient safety events and 22,771 Medicare deaths could have been avoided while saving the U.S. approximately $2 billion from 2005 through 2007.

“It’s kind of like getting an Oscar in our industry,” said Craig Hendrickson, president and CEO of Overlake Hospital Medical Center. “HealthGrades looks at 40 to 50 million hospital records and compares safety standards, processes and outcomes at 5,000 U.S. hospitals. We’re listed as among the best for overall patient safety.”

During the course of the national study, eight patient safety indicators showed improvement, while seven worsened. The overall incidence rate remained virtually unchanged compared to last year’s study. Between 2005 and 2007, 913,215 total patient safety events were recorded among Medicare beneficiaries, which represent 2.3 percent of the nearly 38 million Medicare hospitalizations. This equates to one reported patient safety event every 1.7 minutes.

“Every hospital across the country should continually strive for improvement until their rate of patient safety events is as close to zero as possible,” said Rick May, MD, senior physician consultant at HealthGrades and co-author of the study. “We congratulate Overlake Hospital Medical Center because they continually demonstrate their extraordinary commitment to the reduction of patient safety events.”

The sixth annual HealthGrades Patient Safety in American Hospitals Study applies methodology developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to identify the incident rates of 15 patient safety indicators among Medicare patients at virtually all of the nation's nearly 5,000 nonfederal hospitals. Additionally, HealthGrades applied its methodology using 12 patient safety indicators to identify the best-performing hospitals, or Patient Safety Excellence Award hospitals, which represent the top five percent of all U.S. hospitals. HealthGrades developed this award to give patients more information about choosing a hospital.

HealthGrades’ individual hospital ratings can be viewed for free at

The following are the patient safety indicators studied:

• Complications of anesthesia (Can include severe nausea, breathing stops, severe confusion and death)
• Death in low mortality Diagnostic Related Groupings, DRGs (Patients die while being treated for relatively simple problems)
• Decubitus ulcer (bed sores)
• Death among surgical inpatients with serious treatable complications
• Iatrogenic pneumothorax (Lung puncture causes the lung to collapse, seriously compromising breathing)
• Selected infections due to medical care
• Post-operative hip fracture 
• Post-operative hemorrhage or hematoma (Excessive bleeding after surgery)
• Post-operative physiologic and metabolic derangements (Blood chemistries become severely abnormal, which can lead to seizures, heart attacks, etc.)
• Post-operative respiratory failure (Patient cannot get enough oxygen without aid of a ventilator or similar machine)
• Post-operative pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis (Potentially fatal blood clots form in the lungs/blood clots in the legs)
• Post-operative sepsis (Overwhelming whole-body infection)
• Post-operative abdominal wound dehiscence (Surgical incision opens, potentially exposing the internal organs or other structures)
• Accidental puncture or laceration (Tears in arteries, nerves, bowel, etc.)
• Transfusion reaction (Patient gets fever, itching, or sometimes severe anaphylactic shock from getting the wrong types of blood)

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