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Consumer Reports Rates Hospital Safety

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, July 5, 2012

Perhaps because it works collaboratively with hospitals, the Leapfrog scorecard drew heated criticism from hospital trade organizations, which accused Leapfrog of manipulating statistics, biasing its results by overweighting measures submitted by Leapfrog's participating hospitals, and not informing hospitals about the new score—criticisms that Binder refuted.

The American Hospital Association, which represents more than 5,000 hospitals, could not be reached for comment on the CU score because of the holiday.

Santa says his organization did not notify the AHA that its new scorecard was coming. And he anticipates that it and other hospital trade groups may react negatively to the magazine's new safety score as well. But unlike Leapfrog, CR only used publicly reported data. "The culture of Consumer Reports is very much a culture of independence," Santa says.

A quick look at how some hospitals scored under both methodologies reveals that many hospitals that did well on the Leapfrog survey did not fare as well on the CU safety score, and vice versa. 

For example, Lake Regional Health System in Osage Beach, MO and Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center in Chicago both received a B from Leapfrog, but received CU's third and fifth lowest safety score of 22. And Massachusetts General Hospital, which earned an A on Leapfrog, received a safety score from CU of 45.

Bon Secours St. Francis Health System in Greenville, SC, received a B from Leapfrog, but it was the ninth safest hospital in the CU score.  Memorial Hospital of Union County in Marysville, OH, was the 10th safest hospital in the CU score, but received a C grade from Leapfrog.

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1 comments on "Consumer Reports Rates Hospital Safety"


Leah Binder (7/5/2012 at 2:32 PM)
Consumer Reports did a superb job rating hospitals and we are very excited to see this launch. As Cheryl Clark's thorough article points out, Consumer Reports rated hospitals using different measures than we used to grade hospitals in the Hospital Safety Score. As a result, consumers now have two rich sources of information with different perspectives on hospital safety, and both are useful for anyone faced with a hospital stay. Just as you would consult more than one review before purchasing a book, so should consumers look at these two scores (and other quality data) when choosing a hospital.We have a list of sources of information on our website (www.hospitalsafetyscore.org). We have one point of clarification to this article, however: Just like Consumer Reports, Leapfrog used only publicly available data to calculate our score. We make all the data and methods fully available on our website. We have a longstanding collaboration with Consumer Reports advocating for transparency of healthcare information and we look forward to continue to give consumers the information they need[INVALID]and deserve[INVALID]before entrusting their lives to a hospital.[INVALID]Leah Binder, President & CEO, The Leapfrog Group