How safe is your hospital? These states rank best and worst for care.
Posted on: Wednesday, December 16, 2020 By: KorchekStaff
An expert panel of doctors tracked and analyzed patient safety data from thousands of U.S. hospitals and graded them in a report released Monday.
The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade assigns letter grades “A” through “F,” focusing on how well hospitals protect patients from preventable errors, accidents, injuries and infections.
“We see in the news every day the extraordinary courage of clinicians and staff caring for patients stricken by COVID-19,” Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, said in a news release. “What’s less apparent – yet equally laudable – are the untold efforts behind the scenes to protect patients.”
More than 2,600 general acute-care hospitals were graded. According to the report, 34% of hospitals were graded “A,” 24% were “B's,” 35% were “C's,” 7% were “D's,” and less than 1% were “F's.”
The findings don't fall far from results in fall 2019, when 33% of hospitals received an "A," 25% got "B's" and 34% got "C's." This fall's results are based on 2019 data and fall 2019 results were based on 2018 data.
Maine, Idaho, Delaware, Massachusetts and Oregon had the highest percentages of “A” hospitals in the fall 2020 report. There were no “A” hospitals in Alaska, South Dakota and North Dakota, similar to the fall 2019 report.
Though results from the two reports seem similar, Binder said hospitals have improved on an individual level. In the past five years, she estimated, hospitals have seen up to a 30% improvement in hospital-acquired infections.
"We see hospitals all the time who are a B, and then six months later, they’re an A," she said.
The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade methodology has been peer-reviewed and published in the Journal of Patient Safety. An expert panel selected 27 measures of patient safety and placed them into one of two domains: Process/Structural Measures and Outcome Measures.
Process measures represent how often a hospital gives patients recommended treatment for a given medical condition or procedure, and structural measures represent the environment in which patients receive care. Outcome measures represent what happens to a patient while receiving care.
Grades can be found at hospitalsafetygrade.org. Patients can search for their hospital by name, city, state or ZIP code.
Hospitals that do not appear on the website were not graded because they were missing more than six process measures or more than five outcome measures. The report doesn’t include military or VA hospitals, critical care access hospitals, specialty hospitals, children’s hospitals or outpatient surgery centers.
The Leapfrog Group has begun to collect hospital data from 2020, Binder said, but it's too soon to tell what the experts will find. She's confident hospitals that maintained patient safety as a top priority will have an impact on the pandemic.
"When you have that kind of culture, you’re better prepared for a pandemic because you have a hospital (that's) ready," she said. "I hope that as a result we’re going to see even greater improvements that might have occurred during the pandemic.
"We'll know in six months."