New Report Grades Hospitals on Safety

Preventable errors kill more than a thousand patients every day in the U.S.

The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit organization promoting quality and safety in American health care, has announced new grades for the Leapfrog National Safety Grade, the only national health care rating focused on errors, accidents, and infections. The program has been assigning A, B, C, D, and F letter grades to general acute-care hospitals in the U.S. since 2012. During that time, the group says, significant strides have been made in improving patient safety, such as a 21% decline in hospital-acquired conditions; increased adoption and improved functionality of computerized physician order-entry systems; and millions of averted patient harms.

Nonetheless, problems with safety persist, with more than 1,000 patients a day estimated to die from preventable errors, making hospital errors the third leading cause of death in America.

In the 2017 safety guide, states are ranked based on the number of “A” hospitals they have compared with the total number of hospitals that operate in that state.

Sixty-three out of more than 2,600 hospitals nationwide achieved an “A” in every scoring update of the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade since its inception. One such “Straight A” facility is Saint Anne’s Hospital in Fall River, Massachusetts.

Additional findings include:

  • Of the 2,639 hospitals rated in the new launch, 823 earned an “A;” 706 earned a “B;” 933 earned a “C;” 167 earned a “D;” and 10 earned an “F.”
  • The five states with the highest percentage of “A” hospitals this spring are Maine (69%), Hawaii (67%), Oregon (59%), Wisconsin (58%), and Idaho (55%).
  • Maine is the only state to sustain its ranking as one of the top five states in the percentage of “A”-graded hospitals since the Safety Grade began in 2012.
  • The bottom four slots, with no “A” hospitals, are occupied by three states––Alaska, Delaware, and North Dakota––along with the District of Columbia.

Maryland wasn’t ranked because hospitals in that state are not required to publicly report their safety data.

Sources: Leapfrog Group; April 12, 2017; and State Rankings; October 31, 2016.