Hospitals still angry with low patient safety scores

In updated safety report cards from the Leapfrog Group, hospitals are seeing better scores for how well they keep patients safe from infections, injuries and errors, although the improvement is too slow, according to a Leapfrog statement released yesterday.

The nonprofit group launched its first hospital safety report cards in June for 2,652 hospitals, with more than 1,200 facilities earning a C or below. This time around, of the 2,618 hospitals scored, 790 earned an A, 678 received a B, and 1,004 received a C.

More than half of the hospitals got the same grade as in the June report card, while 23 percent earned a higher grade and 19 percent received a lower grade, indicating some room to improve.

Like the initial report cards, the updated scores are drawing a lot of criticism, especially from hospitals that still didn't make the grade.

Many of the low-scoring hospitals continue to question whether the methodology is valid or reflects their current efforts. An executive at an F-scoring hospital called the safety report card "a form of extortion" to get more hospitals to voluntarily report scores to Leapfrog, HealthLeaders Media reported.

The American Hospital Association, which noted that Leapfrog posted the confidential updated grades to its website earlier this month for hospitals' review, also has been critical of report cards. In June, it accused Leapfrog of using inaccurate and biased scoring and even manipulating data for the hospital safety grades.

The nonprofit group addressed some of those initial complaints, adjusting the methodology so hospitals that report some functions to the AHA have the same weight as if they reported to Leapfrog, HealthLeaders noted.

Leapfrog defends its scoring process and said it expects to get flak from poorly performing hospitals.

"Leapfrog is unbiased in telling the whole truth about how hospitals are doing, no matter how much discomfort that causes many of them," Keith Reissaus, board chair of The Leapfrog Group, said in the statement.

For more:
- read the Leapfrog announcement
- read the HealthLeaders article
- here's the AHA News Now brief