group issues update to study ranking safety of us hospitals

In November, our blog discussed a rather eye-opening report on hospital safety published by The Leapfrog Group, a national business-backed nonprofit seeking “to initiate breakthrough improvements in the safety, quality and affordability of health care for Americans.”

Entitled the Hospital Safety Score, the report issued letter grades to over 2,500 U.S. hospitals based on their success in keeping patients safe from infections, injuries and general medical errors that routinely injure or kill patients.

Specifically, the group assigned letter grades after conducting a comprehensive assessment of 26 measures, including staffing levels, incidence of foreign objects left inside patients, pressure ulcer rates and presence of computerized prescription services, to name only a few. The data to make these assessments, in turn, was provided by various organizations and government entities.

In recent developments, the organization has now released its Spring 2013 Update to the Hospital Safety Score and the results show that hospitals are only making incremental progress in improving patient safety.

While a complete discussion of the Hospital Safety Score Update is beyond the scope of a single blog post, some of the more important points regarding the 2,514 hospitals reviewed include:

  • 780 hospitals were given an A, 638 hospitals were given a B, 932 hospitals were given a C, 148 hospitals were given a D and 16 hospitals were given an F.
  • 73.9 percent of the hospitals maintained the same grade level from November’s assessment, while 1.9 percent of hospitals showed “dramatic change,” moving at least two grade levels (both up and down). 
  • Once again, Maine and Massachusetts had the highest percentages of hospitals earning an A (80 percent and 70 percent respectively), while New Mexico again had the lowest percentage of hospitals earning an A (7 percent).
  • 28 percent of the hospitals reviewed in Pennsylvania received an A, putting the Keystone State at number 26 on the list.

It should be noted that The Leapfrog Group advises patients to always remain vigilant even while staying in hospitals with high scores. It also highlights the importance of working collaboratively to reduce patient safety errors.

“This update of grades and accompanying change in state rankings should serve as a reminder that we are on an ongoing journey,” says Leah Binder, president and CEO of Leapfrog. “Patient safety shouldn’t be merely a concern; it should be a priority. Everyone — including consumers, hospitals, patients, families of patients, unions and employers — has a role in improving safety in American hospitals.”

Please visit our main website to learn more about hospital negligence.

Source: Hospital Safety Score, “Latest hospital safety scores show incremental progress in patient safety,” May 8, 2013 

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