Hospital investigation challenges Leapfrog patient safety score data

Plenty of hospital administrators aren't happy about their Leapfrog Group hospital safety scores. Leaders at Texas County Memorial Hospital did something about it. 

The Houston, Mo., hospital was one of 25 hospitals to earn an F from the Leapfrog Group. Confident the grade was unfair, TCMH purchased the scoring methodology from Leapfrog to run the numbers itself.

The hospital claims it found that Leapfrog used incorrect and incomplete data from inappropriate sources and that the nonprofit group misclassified the small rural facility as an urban hospital.

Leapfrog has since withdrawn the failing mark, according to a recent TCHM announcement.

The hospital's findings underscore allegations from the American Hospital Association that Leapfrog uses inaccurate, biased scoring methods and manipulates data to arrive at the hospital safety grades.  

Although Leapfrog has defended its scoring methodology, it removed the F grade and listed the hospital as "score pending." It's now reviewing TCMH-submitted information to be validated by data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

"The Leapfrog Group told us that if the data we gave them over the phone was accurate, there was a discrepancy in the data used by Leapfrog," CEO Wes Murray told board members Tuesday.

Data discrepancy and a resulting grade change for TCMH would raise questions about whether other hospitals that flunked really represent "the most hazardous environments for patients in need of care." Other hospital leaders were angry about their organizations' low patient safety scores, as well.

Failing hospitals include the University of California Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Georgia, Jackson Park Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago and Madison Memorial Hospital in Idaho, Medscape reported.

TCMH said it's seeking legal counsel on the matter and that other hospitals are considering legal action against Leapfrog Group.

To learn more:
- here's the TCMH announcement
- read the Medscape article