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Analysis

3 Hospitals Respond to Failing Grade From Leapfrog

By John Commins  
   May 20, 2019

HealthLeaders reached out to all nine hospitals that received an 'F' from The Leapfrog Group and offered them an opportunity to respond to the failing grade. Three hospitals responded.

Of the more than 2,600 acute care hospitals scored in The Leapfrog Group's spring 2019 hospital safety grades, nine received an "F," placing them in the bottom 1% of hospitals scored.

Some hospitals that made the list conceded that they faced problems, but said they're working to correct issues identified by The Leapfrog Group survey. In some instances, the hospitals noted that they receive passing grades in performance audits from other sources, and that their lack of participation in The Leapfrog Group survey may have played a role in their failing grade.

In a statement sent to HealthLeaders, Leapfrog Group said its Hospital Safety Grade is calculated predominantly with data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

While hospitals do not receive an "F" if they did not participate in the survey, Leapfrog said participation in the survey "gives hospitals the opportunity to report additional information about their safety measures."

Patients admitted to a "D" or "F" hospital face nearly double the risk as those admitted to an "A" hospital, according to Leapfrog's metrics.

HealthLeaders reached out to all nine hospitals and offered them an opportunity to respond to the failing grade. Three hospitals responded, and their statements are listed below.

1. Hurley Medical Center
 

"As a premier public hospital, Hurley Medical Center remains committed and dedicated to patient safety as a continuous goal, and constantly evaluates and measures processes in place, along with best practices to continuously improve the safety of the comprehensive services we provide to patients," said Laura Jasso, administrator of marketing and community relations for Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan.

"Although we declined to participate in the Leapfrog survey, Hurley Medical Center participates and receives quality and safety reports from multiple reputable organizations on a continuous basis including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Michigan Health & Hospital Association, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, The Joint Commission and the American College of Surgeons to name a few," Jasso added.

2. UPMC Chautaqua
 

"Quality and safety for our patients is the foundation of our mission at UPMC Chautauqua," said Brian Durniok, interim president at UPMC Chautauqua in Jamestown, New York. "We continuously strive to enhance our care by adopting best practices. For example, over the past year, UPMC Chautauqua has reduced falls by 18%, reduced seven day readmissions by 37%, and has had zero colon surgical site infections in the past 12 months."

"Our recent integration into UPMC has given us access to some of the best clinical systems and practices in the world and will only help us better care for our patients," Durniok added. "Historically, UPMC Chautauqua has not been an active participant in the Leapfrog survey, and, as such, Leapfrog has relied on secondary sources for data acquisition, which lowers our score. Given the importance of our quality efforts, we will be providing Leapfrog with our data in the future."

3. St. John's Episcopal Hospital
 

"Since we started reporting in 2016, our grade moved from an F to a D for Spring 2017, Fall 2017, and Spring 2018," said Renee Hastick-Motes, vice president of external affairs for St. John's Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, New York. "When the methodology changed and new criteria was added to the calculation, in addition to the algorithm pulling data from 2015, our grade shifted back. We look forward to a better grade in the fall. Our patients' safety is always our first priority, to ensure that, we have invested in various new systems and developed new processes."

On Leapfrog's Fall 2018 list, 17 hospitals that earned "F" grades. Two of the nine failing hospitals on this latest list, including St John's Episcopal, received an "F" last fall.

The other six "F" hospitals on the latest Leapfrog survey are: National Park Medical Center in Hot Springs, Arkansas; Lompoc Valley Medical Center in Lompoc, California; Methodist Hospital of Henderson in Henderson, Kentucky; United Medical Center in Washington, D.C.; Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys, California; and Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Services in Gallup, New Mexico, which was also included in last fall's "F" list.

“Our patients' safety is always our first priority, to ensure that, we have invested in various new systems and developed new processes. ”

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

'Failing' hospitals insist they're dedicated to patient safety and continuous improvement. 

The hospitals attribute some of their failing grades to their lack of participation in the survey, and to Leapfrog methodology changes and new criteria.

The Leapfrog Group says hospitals do not automatically receive an 'F' if they did not participate in the survey.


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