Hospitals Give Leapfrog Safety Scores a Failing Grade

Cheryl Clark, June 7, 2012

Many healthcare organizations fired back with umbrage Wednesday at the Leapfrog Group's courageous hospital safety report cards, charging that assigning each hospital a "Safety Score" letter grade, much like county inspectors score restaurants, is an unfair way to gauge whether any hospital is more likely to harm patients than another.

And they said they were shocked that so many of the 2,652 hospitals—including winners of prestigious awards who make national "best hospital" lists would flunk, (132) or barely get a passing grade (1,111).

On Leapfrog's website, each facility now appears next to a big bold capital A, B, or C in a square box, or "Score Pending," which means a D or an F.

I heard an earful of complaints.

Leah Binder, Leapfrog's CEO, countered every point. My take is that while this process may be off to a bumpy start, it will definitely stimulate the conversation about the absolute necessity to improve patient safety in our nation's hospitals.

But first I'll let the hospitals have their say about what's wrong with Leapfrog's effort.

Hospital officials blasted the measures Leapfrog picked, the weights they were assigned, and the methods the non-profit group used to announce the scoring system to the public. Several I spoke with discredited Leapfrog's entire operation, saying many hospitals no longer participate in its voluntary data collection because of concerns that the measures Leapfrog collects are prone to the reporting hospital's interpretation.


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