For the first time, in 2009 The Leapfrog Group asked hospitals across the country on behalf of Leapfrog's purchaser members to publicly report their rates of one of the most common and deadly forms of hospital-acquired infections: central-line associated blood stream infections, or CLABSIs.
Leapfrog is partnering with Consumer Reports Health to release hospital infection rates for 926 hospitals at www.consumerreportshealth.org. The online infection rates reveal tremendous variations within the same cities and even the same health care systems.
Leapfrog's roster of voluntarily reporting hospitals is by far the most transparent national source of data by hospital on infection rates, mortality rates for common surgical procedures, safety practices, and other critical information that consumers deserve to know. The voluntary participation of hospitals is unprecedented. However, many hospitals that were asked to report to Leapfrog declined.
Today Leapfrog published a list of hospitals that declined to report to the 2009 Leapfrog Hospital Survey (www.leapfroggroup.org/decline). Leapfrog is urging consumers to take two minutes and find out if their hospital is reporting critical safety information.
If your hospital is on Leapfrog's "Declined to Respond" list, call, write, or send an email and ask what it has to hide. Further, if your primary care doctor recommends that you go there, you may want to ask him/her, "Why would you send me to a hospital that refused to assure me it is doing everything it is supposed to do to keep me and my family safe?
If your hospital is not on the list, check out its patient safety ratings at www.leapfroggroup.org/cp. Give the hospital feedback, positive or negative, on how it is avoiding infections or how it compares on other measures on the survey that matter to you.
If you don't see your hospital listed as either declined or reporting to Leapfrog, it means it hasn't been invited to participate in the survey yet (though it may be required to report to government agencies).
Since 2002, Leapfrog's members—the largest purchasers of health care services in the country—have targeted regions across the country and asked hospitals to complete the Leapfrog Hospital Survey. By completing the survey, hospitals help make it possible for purchasers and consumers to compare their performance in areas such as medication error prevention, mortality for common high-risk surgeries such as heart by-pass surgery, the treatment of common conditions like heart attacks and pneumonia, and rates of certain hospital-acquired conditions such as central-line infections.
Central-line bloodstream infections cause at least 30 percent of the estimated 99,000 annual hospital infection-related deaths in the U.S. and account for $1.7 to $21.4 billion in avoidable health care costs. Safety programs, such as the Keystone Project in Michigan, have demonstrated that hospitals have the ability to reduce their central-line infection rates in ICUs to zero.
All the results from Leapfrog's 2009 Hospital Survey can be found at www.leapfroggroup.org/cp.
The Leapfrog Group uses 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 Leapfrog Group was founded in November 2000 by the Business Roundtable and is now independently operated with support from its members.
The Leapfrog Hospital Survey is the gold standard for comparing hospitals' performance on the national standards of safety, quality, and efficiency that are most relevant to consumers and purchasers of care. Hospitals that participate in The Leapfrog Hospital Survey achieve hospital-wide improvements that translate into millions of lives and dollars saved. Leapfrog's purchaser members use survey results to inform their employees and purchasing strategies.
The Consumer Reports Web site (www.ConsumerReportsHealth.org) currently rates more than 3,600 hospitals in the U.S. based on several criteria, including patient satisfaction, intensity of care, and steps to prevent infection. This last measure, which is different from the CLABSI infection rate, assesses how well a hospital follows correct procedures to avoid surgical infections.