Hospital Rankings: The More, the Murkier

Tinker Ready, for HealthLeaders Media , May 1, 2014

In the meantime, the Leapfrog Group releases continue to generate a lot of ink. Headlines I saw Tuesday included "Geisinger Wyoming Valley named one of safest hospitals in country… Maine hospitals tops again in safety rankingDoylestown Hospital aces patient safety review …Nonprofit grades Franklin Co. hospital as a C."

Whoops. The 37-bed Carilion Franklin Memorial in rural Virginia pleaded statistical insignificance. The University Medical Center in Las Vegas earned an "F" grade. A hospital spokesman told a local television station the grade is inaccurate because his hospital did not participate in Leapfrog's survey. Maybe so, but Leapfrog conducts its own survey and combines the results with data from Medicare and other public sources.

Leah Binder Wants Your Hospital Data

That's a common fallback for hospitals that don't get the grade they want, says Robert Wachter, MD, a leading patient safety researcher at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. He and a group of other top names in the field worked with Leapfrog to come up with a methodology that Wachter says does not bias rankings against hospitals that decline to complete the survey.

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