On October 31, 2017, The Leapfrog Group, which describes itself as a nonprofit organization committed to driving quality, safety, and transparency in the U.S. health system, issued its Fall 2017 The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades that assigns the letter grades A, B, C, D, and F to general acute-care hospitals in the United States based on patient safety. The Leapfrog Group provides its hospital safety rankings bi-annually based on its analyses of U.S. hospitals, which it updates every six months: once in the Fall and once in the Spring. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades information is free to the public and is calculated by “top patient safety experts,” which is then peer reviewed. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades has been issued since 2012.
The Fall 2017 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades found “significant improvements” in five U.S. states since 2012, based on the percentage of A-rated hospitals. Those states with the most improvement since 2012 are Hawaii (from 36th to 3rd), Idaho (19th to 4th), Oregon (48th to 8th), Rhode Island (50th to 1st), and Wisconsin (44th to 6th).
The Fall 2017 Hospital Safety Grades included Maryland for the first time (Maryland could not be previously graded due to an exemption that Maryland had from reporting key safety metrics at the national level). Maryland ranked fourth from the bottom (only one of the forty-four Maryland hospitals that were ranked received an “A” grade: Howard County General Hospital located in Columbia, Howard County, Maryland).
The Fall 2017 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades analyzed 2,632 hospitals in the United States. Of those hospitals, 832 received an “A” grade, 662 received a “B” grade, 964 received a “C” grade, 159 received a “D” grade, and 15 received an “F”. The hospitals that were graded “F” are located in California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, and in Washington D.C.
Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Rhode Island, and Virginia had the highest percentage of hospitals that received an “A” grade. Delaware, Maryland, New York, North Dakota, and Washington D.C. had the lowest percentage of hospitals that received an “A” grade.
The CEO and President of The Leapfrog Group stated with regard to the recent hospital safety rankings, “Errors and infections in hospitals are the third leading cause of death in America, and people deserve to know which of their hospitals are best at preventing them. What we’ve learned is that transparency has a real impact on patient safety. By making the Hospital Safety Grades public, we’ve galvanized major changes in these states and many communities. Not only does it require dedication from national organizations, such as Leapfrog, to make this information public, but also from local coalitions, regional leaders, employers, business leaders and other community organizations to work with these hospitals and their communities to improve the quality and safety of health care.”
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