The Leapfrog Group, a coalition of employers seeking improved quality of care at lower prices, has issued its Fall 2013 update of hospital safety scores, which shows small gains at best since the last update in May.

“On average, there was no improvement in hospitals’ reported performance on the measures included in the score, with the exception of hospital adoption for computerized physician order entry,” the organization contends. “The expansion in adoption of this life-saving technology suggests that federal policy efforts to improve hospital technology have shown some success.”

In the new update, 813 of 2,539 hospitals that issued a Hospital Safety Score earned a grade of A, a rate of 32 percent compared with 31 percent in May. In the fall survey, 661 hospitals received a B grade, 893 got a C, 150 had a D and 22 flunked. Only 3.5 percent of the surveyed hospitals improved by two or more grade levels.

Leapfrog estimates that up to 440,000 American die each year from preventable hospital errors. “We are burying a population the size of Miami every year from medical errors that can be prevented,” says Leah Binder, president and CEO at Leapfrog. “A number of hospitals have improved by one or even two grades, indicating hospitals are taking steps toward safer practices, but these efforts aren’t enough.”

Leapfrog added two new measures to the Fall survey: Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections and Surgical Site Infections for the Colon. Combined, these infections result in 18,000 annual deaths, according to the organization. In total, 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data were used to calculate a hospital’s overall safety rating. The scores are available at

Leapfrog in July 2013 introduced software to enable health care purchasers to see how much they spend unnecessarily because of medical errors in hospitals.

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