Leapfrog Hospital Safety Scores 'Depressing'

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , May 9, 2013

In the Leapfrog Group's third release of hospital safety grades, overall scores rose minutely, but more hospitals got worse than got better. "So far, these numbers aren't really moving," says CEO Leah Binder.

The Leapfrog Group unveiled its third controversial hospital safety report card Wednesday showing miniscule improvement over last November's grades.

"So far, these numbers aren't really moving," said Leapfrog Group president and CEO Leah Binder. "It's depressing," she added, because even though the scores for acute care facilities reflect measures from 2011 and 2010, long before her group launched the safety score last year, hospitals for years have been saying they are trying to make care safer.

For example, she said, "we have demonstrated that hospitals can get to zero central line infections, yet we're still seeing thousands of them reflected in this score.

"And it's very disturbing to still see 'never' events, like air embolism or retained objects in surgery. We understand that things that should never happen sometimes do. They should be extraordinarily rare, but that's not what we're seeing. They're far more common than they should be."

Scores for the 2,514 hospitals break down like this:

  • A - 780
  • B - 638
  • C - 932
  • D - 148
  • F -  16

To the decimal point, Binder said, overall scores actually rose slightly since November's release, from 2.973 to 2.977. But in fact, more hospitals got worse than got better.

While 73.9% of hospitals saw no grade change, 14.08% of hospitals saw their scores go down one grade and only 9.39% of hospitals saw their grades improve one grade. About 1.2% of hospitals saw grades improve by two or more grades, but .64% saw grades decline by two or more.

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1 comments on "Leapfrog Hospital Safety Scores 'Depressing'"

Jeremiah Snodstein (5/16/2013 at 1:57 PM)
These quotes alone show Leapfrog's scores lack credibility: For example, Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire received an A in the Leapfrog score, up from a B last fall. But federal reports last year noted lax infection control practices that may have led to a technician allegedly infecting some three dozen Exeter patients with hepatitis C. Parkland Hospital in Dallas came close to losing hundreds of millions in annual Medicare payments after a series of federal investigations revealed critical quality issues in 2011 and 2012. Yet Leapfrog's scorecard gives Parkland an A, up from a B last fall.




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