New Hospital Safety Grades Show Signs of Improvement

How does your hospital measure up when it comes to patient safety?

Recent analyses have shown that between 250,000 to 400,000 people die every year from preventable errors in U.S. hospitals, causing administrators, physicians, and other hospital staff to be painfully aware that there is always room for improvement.

The statistics show that some hospitals are doing a better job of supporting patient safety than others.

Yet there are signs of improvement, according to The Leapfrog Group, an independent, nonprofit group that has been reporting on hospital safety measures for several years. These measurements include factors ranging from CMS infection data, surgical complications and fall rates, to HCAHPS patient scores, staffing policies and other survey data.

The Leapfrog Group’s spring 2018 Hospital Safety Grades, released April 24, 2018, found that hospitals are making progress in reducing avoidable deaths from errors and infections.

The bi-annual grading assigns “A,” “B,” “C,” “D” and “F” letter grades to general acute-care hospitals in the United States, based on errors, accidents, injuries and infections that collectively are the third leading cause of death in the United States.

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“The national numbers on death and harm in hospitals have alarmed us for decades. What we see in the new round of Safety Grades are signs of many hospitals making significant improvements in their patient safety record,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of Leapfrog.

“The hospitals achieving new milestones are doing the hard work, and we salute them as well as the leaders, researchers and organizations fighting every year for patient safety,” Binder continued.

Signs of hospitals achieving patient safety improvements included:

  • • Five “A” hospitals receiving this grade for the first time this spring had an “F” grade in the past

  • • 46 hospitals have achieved an “A” for the first time since Leapfrog’s hospital safety reporting began six years ago

  • • 89 hospitals receiving an “A” at one point had received a “D” or “F”

  • • Continued strong performance from states including Rhode Island, Hawaii, Wisconsin, and Idaho which once ranked near the bottom of the state rankings of percentage of “A” hospitals but now rank in the top 10

Additional findings in the spring safety scores include:

Of the approximately 2,500 hospitals graded,

  • • 30 percent earned an “A”
  • • 28 percent earned a “B”
  • • 35 percent a “C”
  • • 6 percent a “D” and
  • • 1 percent an “F”

  • • The five states with the highest percentage of “A” hospitals this spring are Hawaii, Idaho, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Virginia

  • • Hospitals with “F” grades are located in California, Washington, D.C., Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey and New York

  • • There are no “A” hospitals in Alaska, Delaware or North Dakota

  • • Impressively, 49 hospitals nationwide have achieved an “A” in every grading update since the launch of the Safety Grade in spring 2012

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is a peer-reviewed process that is calculated by patient safety experts. The results are made available for free to the public on their website. The grading report is updated every six months, in the fall and in the spring.

Leapfrog has published planned updates to their hospital grading methodology for the fall 2018 grading cycle. Hospitals and other stakeholders are encouraged to view the planned updates and submit public comments on these changes here.

Source: The Leapfrog Group: Hospital Safety Grade

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