Healthcare News & Insights

Latest Leapfrog grades: Patients in danger at low-performing hospitals

The Leapfrog Group has just released its latest Hospital Safety Grades, and while many hospitals are performing well, the facilities near the bottom of the list are still dangerous for patients – so more work must be done. 

This year’s scores show that facilities have made significant progress toward improvement overall. In fact, according to a white paper from the Leapfrog Group, fewer people are dying now from preventable medical errors than they were just three years ago.

In 2016, the patient safety group said medical errors accounted for an estimated 205,000 deaths each year. But that number was reduced to 160,000 for this year’s analysis.

The lower number doesn’t paint the full picture of patients’ risk in hospitals, however.

Comparing hospital performance

While the top performing hospitals have made significant gains with improving patient safety, lower-ranking hospitals aren’t on the same path.

Not surprisingly, facilities with lower Leapfrog scores had worse patient outcomes. When comparing “A” hospitals to those that received lower grades, patients were:

  • 34.9% more likely to die at a “B” hospital
  • 87.7% more likely to die at a “C” hospital, and
  • 91.8% more likely to die at a “D” or an “F” hospital.

If all hospitals on the list performed at the same level as the facilities that earned “A” grades from the Leapfrog Group, more than 50,000 lives would be saved annually. Additional lives could be saved if “A” hospitals continued their focus on improving treatment and care, and avoiding preventable complications and infections.

This year, many hospitals are making the grade and getting top marks from the Leapfrog Group, according to a news release. Out of over 2,600 hospitals examined, 32% received “A” grades and 26% received a “B.” Most hospitals (36%) earned a “C” grade. Only 6% of hospitals received a “D,” and close to 1% earned an “F.”

Forty-one hospitals have the unique distinction of earning “A” grades each time the Leapfrog Group updates its patient safety grades since they were first created in 2012.

The states with the most hospitals that earned “As” are Oregon (58%), Virginia (53%), Maine (50%), Massachusetts (48%) and Utah (48%). In contrast, four states had no hospitals that received “A” grades: Alaska, Delaware, North Dakota and Wyoming. Washington D.C. also had no “A” hospitals.

Hospitals that aren’t performing up to standards when it comes to patient safety should look at what some of their higher-ranking counterparts are doing to make the grade.

Getting ideas from other high-performing hospitals with similar patient demographics can help all facilities take strides toward boosting their quality of care.

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