"People deserve to know that some hospitals are safer than others," she says.
The American Hospital Association is not happy with the new scorecard. In a terse one-sentence statement, Nancy Foster, the AHA's Vice President of Quality and Patient Safety Policy said: "The American Hospital Association has supported several good quality measures but many of the measures Leapfrog uses to grade hospitals are flawed and they do not accurately portray a picture of the safety efforts made by hospitals."
Ashish Jha, MD, of the Harvard School of Public Health Department of Health Policy and Management, and one of nine members on Leapfrog's advisory panel that determined which components would be used, explained the rating system.
"This is a patient safety score. It's not the same as whether you'll have a good experience in the hospital, and not even whether you'll get high quality care, such as the right tests or the right medications. This is about whether you will be harmed if you go to this hospital, and that's a very specific thing," Jha says.
The Leapfrog score is very different than the quality scores now available on Medicare's Hospital Compare, in which one or two percent of hospitals score "better than" or "worse than" in a category, like rates of 30-day readmissions or 30-day mortality, and 96% to 98% are all "average."
On the contrary, Binder says. Large numbers of hospitals are in each of the A, B and C grades.
She says that there were a considerable number of "surprises" in how the hospitals scored.