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Leapfrog Hospital Safety Report: Patient Safety Improving, but Critical Work Remains

April 14, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Leapfrog Group has released its spring 2017 hospital safety grades this week, with the results showing that two-thirds of the more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals measured received either an “A” or a “B” for patient care safety.

The ratings from the Leapfrog Group focus on errors, accidents and infections. The program has been assigning A, B, C, D and F letter grades to general acute-care hospitals in the U.S. since 2012. Over that time there have been significant strides in improving patient safety, such as a 21 percent decline in hospital acquired conditions, increased adoption and improved functionality of computerized physician order entry systems, and millions of averted patient harms.

Nonetheless, problems with safety persist, with more than 1,000 people a day estimated to die from preventable errors, making this the third leading cause of death in America, according to Leapfrog officials.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses national performance measures from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the American Hospital Association’s Annual Survey and Health Information Technology Supplement. Taken together, those performance measures produce a single letter grade representing a hospital’s overall performance in keeping patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors. The Safety Grade includes 30 measures, all currently in use by national measurement and reporting programs.

For spring 2017, 63 of the 2,639 hospitals nationwide have achieved an “A” in every scoring update of the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade since its inception. One such “Straight A” hospital is Saint Anne’s Hospital in Fall River, Massachusetts. Additional findings include:

  • Of the 2,639 hospitals rated in today’s launch, 823 earned an “A,” 706 earned a “B,” 933 earned a “C,” 167 earned a “D” and 10 earned an “F”
  • The five states with the highest percentage of “A” hospitals this spring are Maine, Hawaii, Oregon, Wisconsin and Idaho
  • Maine is the only state to sustain its ranking as one of the top five states in percentage of “A” graded hospitals since the Safety Grade began in 2012

Comparatively, in the spring 2016 report from Leapfrog, of the 2,571 hospitals that were issued a Hospital Safety Score, 798 earned an A, 639 earned a B, 957 earned a C, 162 earned a D and 15 earned an F.

“When we launched the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade in 2012, our goal was to alert consumers to the hazards involved in a hospital stay and help them choose the safest option. We also hoped to galvanize hospitals to make safety the first priority day in and day out,” Leah Binder, president and CEO of Leapfrog, said in a statement. ”So far, we’ve been pleased with the increase in public awareness and hospitals’ commitment to solving this terrible problem. But we need to accelerate the pace of change, because too many people are still getting harmed or killed.”

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