Errors and Infections Still a Serious Problem in American Hospitals:
A, B, C, D or F Hospital Safety Scores Assigned to Local Hospitals
Washington, DC, November 28, 2012 – The latest update to the Hospital Safety ScoreSM, the A, B, C, D or F scores assigned to U.S. hospitals based on preventable medical errors, injuries, accidents, and infections, shows that hospitals are making some progress, but many still have a long way to go to reliably deliver safe health care. For the first time, the Hospital Safety Score now identifies “D” and “F” hospitals that represent the most hazardous environments for patients in need of care. The Hospital Safety Score was compiled under the guidance of the nation’s leading experts on patient safety, and administered by the independent, national nonprofit organization The Leapfrog Group (Leapfrog). Today’s Hospital Safety Score update accounts for the data updated over the last six months, most covering hospital performance in 2011, and uses a modified methodology based on research and public comments.
“Everybody has a role in improving this terrible problem with safety in American hospitals,” says Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, which administers the Hospital Safety Score. “Consumers, patients, families of patients, employers, unions, and hospitals themselves can all make a difference if we resolve here and now to make patient safety a national priority.” At least 180,000 patients are killed every year from errors, accidents, injuries, and infections in American hospitals.
While there are several other hospital ratings in the market – many of which use Leapfrog data for their calculations – the Hospital Safety Score is unique in that it is offered free to the public, along with a full analysis of the data and methodology used to calculate each individual hospital’s Hospital Safety Score. The Hospital Safety Score relies on the advice of the nation’s foremost patient safety experts, whose participation is a voluntary contribution to Leapfrog’s nonprofit mission.
“Leapfrog’s primary mission is to create a more transparent health care system, where consumers can access the information they need to make critical decisions about where to seek care—and where that in turn will drive a much needed change in the market,” says Keith Reissaus, board chair of The Leapfrog Group. “Leapfrog is unbiased in telling the whole truth about how hospitals are doing, no matter how much discomfort that causes many of them. Consumers deserve ‘A’ hospitals and someday we may see all hospitals earning ‘A's.’ However, we are not there yet."
To advance that market for change, and in conjunction with this round of updated Hospital Safety Scores, Leapfrog is also announcing:
People can check their local hospital’s Hospital Safety Score online or on the free mobile app at www.hospitalsafetyscore.org. They should discuss the Hospital Safety Score with their doctor and plan to remain vigilant, even in hospitals with high scores. “There are many important considerations when choosing a hospital, but for many people, safety comes first,” says Binder.
Calculated under the guidance of The Leapfrog Group’s nine-member Blue Ribbon Expert Panel, the Hospital Safety Score uses 26 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to produce a single score representing a hospital’s overall success in keeping patients safe from infections, injuries, and medical and medication errors. The panel includes: John Birkmeyer (University of Michigan), Ashish Jha (Harvard University), Lucian Leape (Harvard University), Arnold Milstein (Stanford University), Peter Pronovost (Johns Hopkins University), Patrick Romano (University of California, Davis), Sara Singer (Harvard University), Tim Vogus (Vanderbilt University), and Robert Wachter (University of California, San Francisco).
The Hospital Safety Score was first launched in June 2012. Over the summer, the Blue Ribbon Expert Panel convened to review the methodology in the light of the first launch, and considered commentary from experts and associations including the American Hospital Association, conducted data analyses, and looked at additional evidence. The Blue Ribbon Expert Panel recommended maintaining the original scoring methodology, with the exception of two alterations that give certain hospitals more credit on two of the measures. The Leapfrog Board approved the recommended methodology. Today’s updated release reflects the updated methodology, updated data from the hospitals, and the Leapfrog Board of Directors’ assignment of letter grades.
In analyzing statewide performance, both Massachusetts and Maine showed outstanding hospital safety results. With 83 percent of Massachusetts hospitals and 80 percent of hospitals in Maine awarded “A’s,” it’s clear these states have each put a priority on safety in hospital care.
For more information about the Hospital Safety Score, please visit www.hospitalsafetyscore.org. Journalists interested in scheduling an interview with The Leapfrog Group should contact LeapfrogTeam@sternassociates.com.
Focusing on the Hospital Safety Score and featuring Dr. Peter Pronovost, member of the Blue Ribbon Expert Panel, The Leapfrog Group will host its Annual Meeting – Coming Clean: How Hospital Transparency Will Transform Patient Safety – on December 4 in Baltimore, Md. Journalists interested in securing an invitation to the Annual Meeting should contact LeapfrogTeam@sternassociates.com.
About The Leapfrog Group
The Hospital Safety Score is an initiative of The Leapfrog Group (www.leapfroggroup.org), a national nonprofit organization using the collective leverage of large purchasers of health care to initiate breakthrough improvements in the safety, quality, and affordability of health care for Americans. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey allows purchasers to structure their contracts and purchasing to reward the highest performing hospitals. The Leapfrog Group was founded in November 2000 with support from the Business Roundtable and national funders, and is now independently operated with support from its purchaser and other members.
*Adverse Events in Hospitals: National Incidence Among Medicare Beneficiaries; Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; November 2010 http://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-06-09-00090.pdf