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Leapfrog Hospital Safety Scores 'Depressing'

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, May 9, 2013

Leapfrog rebalanced that methodology last fall so that similar data not reported to Leapfrog, but to the American Hospital Association, may be used for hospitals not participating in Leapfrog's programs. Also, about 100 fewer hospitals were included in the score this year because they did not meet Leapfrog's new minimum patient counts for many measures.

Binder says that while she knows hospitals and their trade organizations publicly criticize Leapfrog's scoring system, she's sure these reports are driving hospitals to try harder, especially when hospitals are compared with their regional competitors.

"We continue to be pleasantly surprised at how many hospitals use this score constructively," Binder said. "We get literally hundreds of call from hospitals, some of them not graded well, who really, really want to go over their data and understand it, and set goals for improvement, which makes it all worthwhile.

"Whatever hospitals say publicly in the media is one thing, but what they tell us in one-on-one conversations is encouraging. They say they're working on this; that it matters to them."

Hospital Safety Ranking by State
The hospital quality organization also ranks states. The top state this year is Maine, with 80% of its hospitals getting an A, followed by Massachusetts with 70.5%.

For all other states, fewer than 46% of hospitals received an A. And at the bottom of the state list, fewer than 11% of the hospitals in Oklahoma, Idaho, Nevada, Kansas, Oregon, West Virginia, and New Mexico received an A safety score.

As in two prior reports in June and November, there were numerous surprises. Some hospitals with the most respected national reputations received grades lower than an A or B.

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1 comments on "Leapfrog Hospital Safety Scores 'Depressing'"


Jeremiah Snodstein (5/16/2013 at 1:57 PM)
These quotes alone show Leapfrog's scores lack credibility: For example, Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire received an A in the Leapfrog score, up from a B last fall. But federal reports last year noted lax infection control practices that may have led to a technician allegedly infecting some three dozen Exeter patients with hepatitis C. Parkland Hospital in Dallas came close to losing hundreds of millions in annual Medicare payments after a series of federal investigations revealed critical quality issues in 2011 and 2012. Yet Leapfrog's scorecard gives Parkland an A, up from a B last fall.