Leapfrog Issues Hospital Safety Report Cards

Cheryl Clark, June 6, 2012

Hospitals are getting report cards.

A new "Hospital Safety Score" issued by The Leapfrog Group, a non-profit employer-sponsored organization enables anyone with internet access to check out which hospitals are the least, and which ones the most, likely to cause avoidable patient harm.

Leapfrog reviewed 2,651 facilities across the country and generated a report card for each, with an A, B, C, D or F letter grade.

For example, 729 hospitals got an A, 679 a B, 1,111 earned a C, and 132 have a "Grade Pending," indicating that they really got a D or an F.  But Leapfrog is giving these hospitals a chance to improve and will issue final grades in November. Grading was not applied to critical access hospitals. Neither was it applied to hospitals in the state of Maryland because they do not report data to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. And it was not applied to hospitals in Guam and Puerto Rico or any other hospital that did not have at least 14 measures to evaluate.

The scores, which may be viewed at hospitalsafetyscore.org, include a list of 26 weighted measures, such as the number of patients who develop severe pressure ulcers, have surgical objects left inside their body cavities, or develop postoperative pulmonary emboli. They also take into consideration the frequency with which the hospital employs best practices to prevent pneumonia, infections, or other complications.

"Most of us know lots of people who have suffered from injuries and infections in hospital settings," says Leah Binder, Leapfrog Group CEO. "In fact, anyone who goes to the hospital almost invariably has some story of unnecessary suffering and harm, so it is rampant—a major problem."

Unfortunately, Binder says, until now, only certain healthcare insiders knew how to interpret the "the plethora of data about patient safety, and no one else. So we brought together the top experts in patient safety around the country to put together one score that any consumer can understand before they walk into the door of a hospital, a score that will tell them how safe it is."

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