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Leapfrog's 'License Fees' for Promoting Hospital Scores Rankle

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, June 14, 2012

But apparently, some in the hospital industry won't let the issue drop. Discussions are continuing this week at the American Hospital Association and affiliated state associations, about how to strategically discredit the Leapfrog score.

According to one internal hospital group memo distributed in California, the AHA's executive team held a staff meeting Monday to discuss the concern "that data used by Leapfrog is indeed skewed in favor of hospitals that participate in Leapfrog's survey.

"AHA believes this is true – but they are currently engaged in a data analysis to be sure that they are on solid ground in making this claim," the memo says.

"Right now, we are in the process of evaluating the methodology," AHA spokeswoman Jennifer Schleman said Wednesday.  She repeated last week's statement from Nancy Foster, AHA vice president, that the AHA "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."

The Greater New York Hospital Association also doesn't think Leapfrog's methodology is a good way to compare hospital safety because hospitals that participate in Leapfrog are scored differently than hospitals that don't. "It's not comparing apples to apples," Ryan says.

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3 comments on "Leapfrog's 'License Fees' for Promoting Hospital Scores Rankle"


Michael Millenson (6/15/2012 at 1:58 PM)
This story lets the hospitals try to conflate two different, unrelated items. First, is reporting data to Leapfrog, which is voluntary, a factor in being rated safe or not? Hospitals complain, but present no evidence, and Leapfrog says no. Second, is it OK for Leapfrog to charge for commercial use of its data? Yes. But the article acts as if Leapfrog makes money through the hospitals' voluntary reporting. It does not.

Anthony Cirillo (6/15/2012 at 12:38 PM)
I have to agree with the other comment. How is this any different than paying for Health Grades and the rest of the lot? Just because the data suggests under-performance does not give the right to attack a process that ther quality graders are using. They are in BUSINESS! That is how they make money. As a former chief marketing officer in hospitals and now as a consultant, I advise my clients against "buying" ratings, for good or for bad.

Joe Ketcherside MD (6/15/2012 at 9:51 AM)
I have been in healthcare for over 30 years, and this is the same song and dance over again. Physicians and hospitals who flunk a test spend more time attacking the test than they do their own crappy performance. Every measure of our health system that has ever been published shows that errors are rampant, routine care is not provided appropriately and costs are bankrupting us. "My patients are sicker." "The measures aren't risk-stratified" "Somebody else got a preferential score" and all the other standard objections are just plain worn out. If there's a better measure out there, let's see it. And I got news for you, if 80% of the systems test "above average", then that test is worthless. No measure is perfect, but if we all use the same test we know where we stand and can do something about it. Hospitals and physicians have done their level best to avoid any and all objective measurement of the safety and quality of care they deliver and oppose any public reporting. That has to stop. It's way past time for those hospitals with the Cs, Ds and Fs to put on their big boy undies, quit whining, and start acting like the professional they claim to be. Programs like Leapfrog will make it possible for consumers to pick the best systems, and with any luck the ones who spend their time attacking the test instead of their own failures will just go out of business.