The Leapfrog Group, a coalition of employers seeking improved quality of care at lower prices, has introduced software to enable health care purchasers to see how much they spend unnecessarily because of medical errors in hospitals.

Also available with the Hidden Surcharge Calculator is a white paper from Leapfrog. The organization estimates that a patient admitted to a hospital with a safety grade of “C” or lower generates $7,780 in hidden surcharges because of errors.

Employers can enter into the calculator their own claims data and local hospital safety ratings--compiled by Leapfrog on more than 2,500 hospitals-- to get an idea of what they annually pay for errors. Leapfrog encourages employers to shift employees to hospitals with an “A” safety grade, although these facilities, while having less errors, still can be imposing hidden surcharges.

Employers also can use what they learn from the calculator in contract negotiations with their insurer. The calculator is available to all employers, with Leapfrog members having access to additional tools and supplements. This includes a spreadsheet to tabulate admissions across a covered population and the safety scores of those hospitals. Hospital safety scores are here, the calculator is here and member access to additional tools is on the Member Resources page at leapfroggroup.org.

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