How safe is your hospital?

The Leapfrog Group is an independent, non-profit national organization founded more than a decade ago by America’s leading employers and private health care experts.

In the interest of the safety, quality and affordability of health care in the U.S., Leapfrog advocates and promotes hospital transparency through its data collection and public reporting initiatives. Twice a year, in spring and fall, the organization measures the nation’s hospital performance, the results of which are released in its Leapfrog Hospital Survey — a trusted, transparent and evidence-based national tool in which over 2,600 general acute-care hospitals across the U.S. voluntarily participate free of charge. The Leapfrog Safety Grade is becoming the gold standard measure of patient safety, cited in MSNBCThe New York Times, and AARP The Magazine.

As Leah Binder, president and CEO of the Leapfrog Group, said in a press release: “Hospitals don’t all have the same track record, so it really matters which hospital people choose, which is the purpose of our Hospital Safety Grade.”

Leapfrog assign to hospitals safety grades of A to F, representing a hospital’s overall performance in keeping patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors. The Safety Grade includes 28 measures, all currently in use by national measurement and reporting programs. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade methodology has been peer reviewed and published in the Journal of Patient Safety.

Using 28 evidence-based measures of patient safety, Leapfrog calculates a numerical score for all eligible hospitals in the U.S. The numerical score is then converted into one of five letter grades:

  • A = The safest hospitals, with a numerical score greater than or equal to 3.151.
  • B = Hospitals with a numerical score less than 3.151, but greater than or equal to 2.965.
  • C = Hospitals with a numerical score less than 2.965, but
    greater than or equal to 2.502.
  • D = Hospitals with a numerical score between 1.5 standard deviations and 3.0 standard deviations below the mean.
  • F = Hospitals with a numerical score more than 3.0 standard
    deviations below the mean.

Patients at hospitals that receive “D” or “F” grades face a 92% greater risk of avoidable death compared to “A” hospitals. At “C” and “B” hospitals, patients on average face an 88% and a 35% greater risk respectively. Leapfrog estimates that if the risk at all hospitals was equivalent to what it is at “A” hospitals, 50,000 lives would have been saved. Overall, the researchers estimate that 160,000 lives are lost every year due to avoidable medical errors.

As an example, Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys is one of the two hospitals in California which received an “F” grade — for its staff’s weak communication and responsiveness, handwashing, the spread of infections, and deaths from treatable complications. The other “F” hospital is Lompoc Valley Medical Center in Lompoc.

Here are the results of Leapfrog’s Spring 2019 hospital safety survey:

  • The numerical scores ranged between approximately 1.9 and 3.7.
  • The average score was approximately 3.0.
  • 32% of hospitals, numbering 832, received a grade of “A”.
  • 26% of hospitals (N=681) received a grade of “B”.
  • 36% of hospitals (N=938) received a grade of “C”.
  • 6% of hospitals (N=160) received a grade of “D”.
  • <1% of hospitals (N=9) received a grade of “F”.

To find out the safety rating of your hospital and those of other hospitals in your state, go here.

~Eowyn

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How safe is your hospital?
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CalGirlChemtrailssuckJackie PuppetLophattDCG Recent comment authors
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William
Member
William

There is only one hospital here and it got an “A”. One area where it got a very bad grade was “surgical wound splits open”. That happened to me a few years ago, it took months to heal. No idea why that’s such a problem at this hospital

Alma
Member
Alma

How safe can hospitals be, when the hazardous containers for disposable needles are installed inside the room right by the door of the patients’ rooms? Indeed the containers have red tape indicating hazardous materials but who’s to tell every time a needle is placed in, did it safely go in? Why is it that a patient enters the hospital with an ailment, gets well and goes home with another ailment he didn’t have before? Besides the cost of the hospital stay, patients are sent home where there’s a better chance to recover. No, I don’t think there’s ANY hospital safe.… Read more »

Auntie Lulu
Guest
Auntie Lulu

I was thrilled to read that Providence, Portland, OR was an “A” rated hospital, since I was there twice last year. But, I was horrified that OHSU, which is a teaching hospital/university here in Portland . . . and they only attained a “C” grade–that is appalling!

Thank you for offering such a wonderful article. If it were found that the hospital that I use was less than an A, I would have to do something else about where I was willing to be hospitalized. Great article!!!

William
Member
William

The Leapfrog Group. Very cool name

DCG
Editor

As expected, the two hospitals in my town got a C and a D. That’s why they say “go to the city” if you want good treatment…

Lophatt
Member
Lophatt

This is a subject that needs a lot of work. The first “problem” is that these are all “for profit” operations. As a result, they are forever trying to cut costs at the patient’s expense. This does not matter if you have a premium health plan (as I do), or not. Here most of the nursing staff is Filipino. I’m not saying that’s automatically “bad”, but it can be. I have noted from personal experience that different hospitals operate with different standards of care. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to choose a hospital as the health care provider negotiates… Read more »

Jackie Puppet
Member

The hospital nearest me got a B, and the one area I was interested in seeing, was the “Communication With Doctors” – and they got a below average, though only by a tiny fraction – should’ve been even lower. When I dislocated my kneecap and ruptured my patella tendon, I was taken to the ER, but I never saw the ER doctor. All I got was a temporary knee brace, crutches, and a diagnosis of a sprained knee. I’ve walked before on sprained knees – you’ll never walk again with a blown-out knee unless you undergo surgery, which I got… Read more »

Chemtrailssuck
Guest
Chemtrailssuck

I don’t know…I looked up a hospital that has been known for years to be one of the places you do NOT go to (even my mom had told us that the pediatrician said to not go there), anyway I know of two people that were in there for various reasons and they both died (one was very suspicious circumstances). They also advertise all the time and partnered with the Mayo clinic (hold the onions), which is very suspicious in itself. Maybe the cleaned up their act….but I still don’t trust this, it’s easy enough to bribe people. Like Robert… Read more »

CalGirl
Guest
CalGirl

My family belongs to a Kaiser. I am the only female. When my husband or boys need care, they are fawned-over….a rush to diagnosis and treatment. I once took my nationally-ranked sports- participant son to our local Kaiser on the way home from training facility due to a hip-flexor injury that had just happened that day—-and even from walk-in sick call…he was attended to—I might describe it as “flocked to” by a bevy of “sports physicians.” I hate to “whine” as a politicl subgroup into which we are all divided these days…BUT—- When I, an aging female long past any… Read more »