Daviess Community Hospital, a 48-bed facility in Washington, Ind., went from an F to a C, a two-grade bump that David Bixler, the hospital's CEO, said reflects close work with Leapfrog to improve adherence to best practices.
Officials at 146-bed Larkin Community Hospital, South Miami, Fla., attributed their D grade in November to issues related to their submission of data for Leapfrog's annual survey. The hospital worked with Leapfrog to correct those problems, said CEO Sandy Sosa-Guerrero, and received an A this time around. “We always felt that we were an A hospital,” she said.
But while she called the grades valuable, she also acknowledged that they could be misinterpreted by patients. “It looks at a certain amount of very limited quality indicators,” Sosa-Guerrero said. “It's a good start but it needs to be more inclusive.”
Jonathan Aquino, chief quality officer of 172-bed Kern Medical Center, Bakersfield, Calif., whose grade slipped from a D to an F in the latest ratings, said Leapfrog's score did not align with the hospital's performance in statewide improvement initiatives. “We truly don't believe we merit the grade that we got,” he said.
He cited methodological concerns that many other hospitals have pointed to, including Leapfrog's reliance on older data. The most recent grades used data from 2010 and 2011.
Leah Binder, Leapfrog's president and CEO, said the group uses the most up-to-date publicly available data, adding that “Leapfrog would be happy to work with hospitals to advocate for CMS to put data out faster.”
She also cited a recently released peer-reviewed article in the Journal of Patient Safety, co-authored by many of the members of Leapfrog's expert panel that reviews in detail the development of the group's safety-score methodology.
The program bases grades on hospitals' performance on 26 safety measures, including 15 process and structural measures, such as antibiotics within one hour of surgery, and 11 outcomes measures, such as air embolisms and late-stage pressure ulcers.