"This is some information that is starting to make the rounds in the hospital circles. It appears that if you did not participate in Leapfrog, then you were penalized," says David Perrott, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer for the California Hospital Association. "This deserves more questions and explanation from Leapfrog if correct."
Leah Binder, Leapfrog's CEO, vehemently denies that, saying that hospitals with complaints "are really grasping at straws; hopefully they will soon focus on the most important thing, which is improving their safety.
Binder insists that "any hospital that is among the safest in the U.S. could get an A, whether they report to Leapfrog or not," and in fact, "146 hospitals that don’t report to Leapfrog got an A. Two that come to mind: NYU Medical Center and the Cleveland Clinic in Florida."
Binder says Leapfrog "considered not allowing commercial use of the score at all. But a major purpose of the score is for hospitals to compete on safety, so we don’t want to discourage advertising. And requiring licensure for commercial use of something is standard practice in every industry. Try selling your own Obama or Romney campaign baseball caps and see how quickly campaign lawyers will be sending you a bill," she says.
The idea that Leapfrog and the hospitals that buy its marketing packages have a conflict of interest, Binder says, "is absurd. Do you reject the findings of a Gallup Poll because Gallup itself collected the data? The development of the score was an objective, thoughtful, and unbiased process."