Leapfrog rebalanced that methodology last fall so that similar data not reported to Leapfrog, but to the American Hospital Association, may be used for hospitals not participating in Leapfrog's programs. Also, about 100 fewer hospitals were included in the score this year because they did not meet Leapfrog's new minimum patient counts for many measures.
Binder says that while she knows hospitals and their trade organizations publicly criticize Leapfrog's scoring system, she's sure these reports are driving hospitals to try harder, especially when hospitals are compared with their regional competitors.
"We continue to be pleasantly surprised at how many hospitals use this score constructively," Binder said. "We get literally hundreds of call from hospitals, some of them not graded well, who really, really want to go over their data and understand it, and set goals for improvement, which makes it all worthwhile.
"Whatever hospitals say publicly in the media is one thing, but what they tell us in one-on-one conversations is encouraging. They say they're working on this; that it matters to them."
Hospital Safety Ranking by State
The hospital quality organization also ranks states. The top state this year is Maine, with 80% of its hospitals getting an A, followed by Massachusetts with 70.5%.
For all other states, fewer than 46% of hospitals received an A. And at the bottom of the state list, fewer than 11% of the hospitals in Oklahoma, Idaho, Nevada, Kansas, Oregon, West Virginia, and New Mexico received an A safety score.
As in two prior reports in June and November, there were numerous surprises. Some hospitals with the most respected national reputations received grades lower than an A or B.