Leapfrog Group: Across-the-board safety improvements remain 'elusive'

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Hospitals are improving in eight key measurements of safety but declining in six others, according to hospital safety scores released today by The Leapfrog Group.

While highlighting a number of hospitals that are performing well, either maintaining top scores over several years or improving their scores, The Leapfrog Group also noted in an announcement that "improvement across the board remains elusive."

The scores ranked 2,530 hospitals of all sizes. Of the total:

  • 773 earned an A
  • 724 received a B
  • 866 scored a C
  • 133 received a D
  • 34 received an F 

Of the 773 top-scoring hospitals, 133 of all sizes have consistently received an A since scoring began in 2012, Leapfrog said.

Maine had the highest percentage of hospitals scoring an A, at 69 percent, according to the announcement. Meanwhile, no hospitals in Alaska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming or the District of Columbia received As. The safety scores are searchable by city and state.

The announcement highlighted improvement at Beckley ARH Hospital in West Virginia for improving from a D last spring to an A in the fall. Improvements implemented in the interim included computerized physician order entry and all five surgical care improvement measures.

Last spring, the scores showed that urban hospitals as a whole performed better in safety than rural hospitals, and that many hospitals continue to struggle to control hospital-acquired infections, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

Earlier this month Leapfrog also released data showing that only 39 percent of hospitals ranked met the group's target rate for C-sections. Leapfrog said C-sections should comprise no more than 23.9 percent of deliveries.

"It just suggests that hospitals have not really focused on C-section rates as an issue and they need a strategy to address this problem right away," Leapfrog CEO Leah Binder told FierceHealthcare in an interview at the time.

The Leapfrog Group also makes available a calculator for hidden hospital surcharges that employers and other health insurance purchasers pay because of hospital errors.