Categorized | Health

Leapfrog Group: How safe is your Hospital?


According to The Leapfrog Group, approximately 400 people die every day because of hospital errors – the equivalent of a jet crashing every day and killing all aboard.

In response to this silent epidemic, more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals will now receive an A, B, C, D or F Hospital Safety Score based on patient safety via a first-of-its-kind initiative.

A Blue Ribbon Panel of the nation’s top patient safety experts provided guidance to The Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit run by employers and other large purchasers of health benefits, to develop the Hospital Safety Score.

The Hospital Safety Score is calculated using publicly available data on patient injuries, medical and medication errors, and infections.

“The Leapfrog Group’s goal is to give patients the vital information they need and deserve before even entering a hospital,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO, The Leapfrog Group. “We hope people will use this score to talk with their doctor, make informed decisions about where to seek care, and take the right precautions during a hospital stay.”

For the first time, the Hospital Safety Score will highlight the country’s best hospitals and warn against the worst to save lives and bring attention to the nation’s silent safety epidemic.

According to recent studies, one in four Medicare patients will leave a hospital with a potentially fatal issue they didn’t have prior to hospitalization.

On average, one medication error per day occurs for each hospitalized patient, and more than 180,000 Americans die every year from hospital accidents, errors, and infections.

The Hospital Safety Score website allows visitors to search hospital scores for free, and also provides information on how the public can protect themselves and loved ones during a hospital stay.

“The Leapfrog Group board has been frustrated with the lack of progress in improving patient safety, despite significant industry efforts over the past decade,” said David Knowlton, immediate past chair of The Leapfrog Group Board of Directors and chair of The Leapfrog Group’s Patient Safety Committee. “It is time for a game changer. It’s time to give American families the heads-up they need to protect themselves if they face the need for a hospital stay.”

The Leapfrog Group’s membership of employers and other purchasers of health benefits, and business coalitions on health across the country, will be working to engage communities, employers, health plans, and hospitals in using the Hospital Safety Score to improve safety.

The Hospital Safety Score will be reissued using updated data in November 2012, with an annual Hospital Safety Score to follow in 2013 and beyond.

Key Findings

* Of the 2,652 general hospitals issued a Hospital Safety Score, 729 earned an “A,” 679 earned a “B,” and 1243 earned a “C” or below.

* A wide range of hospitals earned “As,” with no one class of hospitals dominating among those showing the highest safety scores. Hospitals earning an “A” include academic medical centers Massachusetts General, NYU Langone Medical Center, and University of California San Francisco. Many rural hospitals earned an “A,” including Grinnell Regional Medical Center in Iowa and Baptist Health South Florida Homestead Hospital in Florida.

* Hospitals with myriad national accolades, such as Mayo Clinic, Virginia Mason Medical Center, and University of Michigan Medical Center, each earned an “A.”

* Less predictable were the “A” scores earned by hospitals serving highly vulnerable, impoverished, and/or health-challenged populations, such as Bellevue Hospital, Montefiore Hospital, and Detroit Receiving Hospital.

* “A” scores were awarded to for-profit hospitals including many in the HCA systems, as well as hundreds of not-for-profit and public hospitals.

* Community hospitals showed excellence as well, such as OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Illinois.

Not all hospitals earned an “A,” and there are some surprises, including hospitals with outstanding reputations for quality appearing with Hospital Safety Scores of “B,” “C,” or below.

“The Hospital Safety Score exclusively measures safety – meaning errors, accidents, and infections. Even hospitals with excellent programs for surgical and medical care, state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment, and dedicated physicians may still need this score as a reminder that patient safety should be a top priority,” said Dr. Ashish Jha of Harvard, a member of the Blue Ribbon Expert Panel.
States had variations in performance. Massachusetts hospitals on average had the highest Hospital Safety Scores, while District of Columbia had the lowest average scores.

Hawaii Highlights

“What people need to know is that Hawaii hospitals are 100 percent serious about patient safety. Just ask any of the men and women who save lives in our hospitals each day. Patient safety can never be over- emphasized. We will take the time to carefully review this report, remedy any areas of concern, and continue to share best practices in order to deliver the highest quality care.” – George Greene, Healthcare Association of Hawaii President and CEO

Examples of quality excellence in Hawaii:

* Hawaii is ranked No. 1 in the U.S. as the state with the lowest incidence of central line-associated bloodstream infections.

* Twenty-one hospitals in Hawaii are currently participating in “Partnership for Patients,” a federally-funded initiative to improve quality. The Healthcare Association of Hawaii is the lead for the Hawaii Affinity Team, which in partnership with Premiere is one of only 26 Hospital Engagement Networks (HEN) in the nation to receive federal funds for CMS Innovation Center’s “Partnership for Patients” initiative.

Working with HAH in the Partnership for Patients, the Hawaii team includes the QIO, HHIC, Department of Health and Premier. This team is working proactively to ensure that health care safety and quality across the continuum is addressed.

* Of the 2,652 general hospitals issued a Hospital Safety Score, 729 earned an “A,” 679 earned a “B,” and 1243 earned a “C” or below. Nationally, roughly a quarter of the hospitals have received an A, a quarter have received a B, and most of the remainder of hospitals have received a C.

Hawaii grades fall in similar percentages to those nation-wide, with comparable grade distribution to states such as Texas and New York.

“C” means average in this rating system. Since C is defined as average, by definition most facilities will get a C. Recognized health care icons, including the Cleveland Clinic, also received a C grade.

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