Healthcare Business News

Leapfrog sees hospital safety gains as too slow

By Paul Barr
Posted: November 28, 2012 - 12:01 am ET

Hospitals showed improvement in safety grades produced by the Leapfrog Group, but officials for the employer-backed organization say the uptick in grades should be better.

Of 2,618 hospitals assigned a grade by Leapfrog, 790 received an “A,” 678 received a “B,” 1,004 received a “C,” 121 received a “D,” and 25 received an “F,” according to a news release (PDF) on the grades, called Hospital Safety Scores (PDF). About 58% of hospitals received the same grade given the first time the list was released, in June. About 23% raised their grade and 19% of hospitals saw their grades fall.

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The industry is showing improvement, said Leah Binder, Leapfrog's president and CEO, at a teleconference. “The problem is in the rapidity of the change. It's not fast enough,” she said.

Leapfrog altered methodology for two of the measures used to calculate the grades, one linked to use of computerized physician order entry and the other to physician staffing of ICUs, partly in response to comment on the grades, Binder said.

Leapfrog also for the first time released the names of hospitals scoring a “D” or an “F.” The list of hospitals getting an “F” includes 456-bed Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, and 439-bed Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, Albany, Ga.

UCLA Health System released a statement on the score that said: “While we appreciate Leapfrog's efforts to provide important hospital safety information to the public, the problem with nearly all of the hospital report cards promoted by various organizations is that there is no consistency.”

The statement also said it has worked with the California Hospital Association to develop a set of core principles for hospitals to consider when assessing scorecards created by third parties, and all hospital quality report cards should follow those principles.

Phoebe Putney officials were preparing a statement at deadline.

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