Hospitals question Leapfrog survey accuracy, scores

Hospitals around the country called into question Leapfrog Group's most recent hospital scorecard ratings, after several top hospitals that didn't fill out the organization's patient safety survey saw a drop in their rankings.

Oregon Health & Science University, two hospitals under TriHealth system in Cincinnati and St. Elizabeth Healthcare of Northern Kentucky all saw drops in scores between the spring and the fall, not because of poor performance, but because the hospitals didn't fill out the Leapfrog survey.

"You get punished if you don't participate,"  Charles M. "Chuck" Kilo, chief medical officer of Oregon Health & Science University, told the Portland Business Journal. "We believe in transparency and getting accurate performance data in the hands of consumers is good. The data should be accurate and there shouldn't be a financial incentive for the organizations that put it out. If so, the public should be aware of it, " he said. 

A TriHealth spokesman said the healthcare system never received the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, dropping Good Samaritan Hospital's score from A to B, and Bethesda North fell from A to C, and they believe the scores should remain an A, according to the Cincinnati Business Courier.

"We did not receive a survey to fill out," Kelley told the Courier. "In addition, Leapfrog fails to recognize TriHealth hospitals as Magnet hospitals, a program that recognizes healthcare organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovation in nursing practices. It is one of the more difficult awards to get."

This isn't the first time hospitals questioned Leapfrog's survey methods.

In January, Texas County Memorial Hospital, one of 25 to earn an F from Leapfrog, claimed it found that the group used incorrect and incomplete data from inappropriate sources, and misclassified the rural hospital as an urban facility, FierceHealthcare previously reported.  

The latest survey assigned scores to more than 2,500 hospitals nationwide, 32 percent of which received an A. If the group doesn't receive a response, it ranks hospitals based on 28 quality measures, including publicly reported errors, accidents and injuries--in Bethesda North's case the number of central line-associated bloodstream infections and rate of falls and trauma, both factored into the lower score, according to the Courier.

To learn more:
- read Portland Business Journal'article
- check out the Cincinnati Business Courier'coverage
- review The Leapfrog Group's Hospital Safety Scores

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