Binder lauds Maine and Massachusetts, states with the highest percentage of hospitals scoring an A. On the other end are New Hampshire, Arkansas, Nebraska, and New Mexico, states with the lowest number of A-rated hospitals.
One serious flaw with the Leapfrog score is that it can award high grades to hospitals involved in terrible, headline-getting scandals of mishaps and patient mistreatment. For example, Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire, where a catheterization lab tech is said to have infected more than 33 patients with hepatitis C via syringes he used on himself and later on patients, received a B this time around, down from an A this spring.
Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, where safety violations uncovered by state and federal surveyors triggered an "immediate jeopardy" declaration in 2011, received a C in this round of scoring, down from an A six months ago.
Missy Danforth, Leapfrog senior director of hospital ratings, acknowledged in an e-mail, that capturing those very public events "is a real challenge. Unfortunately certain errors are not reflected in the data we use to calculate the safety score" because the system still lacks an adequate way to capture such public reports.
As expected, however, officials for some of those hospitals were upset with their scores and said they were inaccurate, unfair, or outdated, and therefore not meaningful.