Updated Hospital Safety Scores Available to Consumers

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The Leapfrog Group, a coalition of large employers working to improve care quality, has updated and expanded its Hospital Safety Score website that enables consumers to check the safety grades of their local hospitals. About 31 percent of graded hospitals got an A.

The website has A, B, C, D, or F grades for 2,523 general acute care hospitals. While there are about 3,200 such qualified hospitals, many of them are small and don’t have enough patients to meet minimum reporting requirements, says Missy Danforth, senior director of hospital ratings at Leapfrog.

For the first time, consumers can not only see the current safety grade of a hospital but its past grades over three years. In addition, hospitals consistently getting straight A’s during the last 7 times the Safety Score has been calculated are labeled with a special logo on the website.

Also See: Hospital Ratings Data, Methodologies Need to Be Open

The Safety Score is different from Leapfrog’s annual and more comprehensive voluntary hospital performance survey that comes out in July. The Safety Score, published twice a year, uses public data already published on Leapfrog’s website and the Medicare Hospital Compare website.

In Leapfrog’s latest safety findings, 782 hospitals got an A grade, 719 got B, 859 had a C, 143 received a D and 20 flunked.

Overall, hospitals improved on safety in such process areas as electronic medication prescribing, and administering appropriate antibiotics before surgery and discontinuing them after the surgery. But the overall performance on safety outcomes—such as preventing errors, accidents and infections—showed little improvement. Process measures are easier to see results, while outcomes show up over a longer period of time, Danforth says.

For the fourth time, according to Leapfrog, no hospital in the District of Columbia received an A grade. Also, no hospitals in Arkansas and North Dakota got an A. The Hospital Safety Score website is available here.

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