Reputable hospitals score poorly on patient safety

Hospitals are getting new safety report cards from the Leapfrog Group, which gave more than 2,600 facilities an A, B, C, D or F for how well they keep patients safe from infections, injuries and errors. But despite outstanding reputations for quality, some of the most renowned hospitals scored poorly for patient safety, according to a Leapfrog statement released today.

For example, Baldridge Award winner Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and the Cleveland Clinic's main campus (and most of its hospitals) scored Cs, HealthLeaders Media reported.

"Even hospitals with excellent programs for surgical and medical care, state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment and dedicated physicians may still need this score as a reminder that patient safety should be a top priority," Ashish Jha of the Harvard School of Public Health and a member of Leapfrog's Blue Ribbon Expert Panel said in the statement.

For those who didn't make the grade, the nonprofit group is giving hospitals a chance to improve their safety scores and will issue updated marks in November.

The safety scores are based on 26 measures that include falls and trauma, central line-associated bloodstream infections, very severe pressure ulcers and foreign objects left in surgical patients, as well as safety protocols like hand hygiene policies.

The American Hospital Association has condemned the new safety report cards, saying in a statement that is has "supported several quality measures but many of the measures Leapfrog uses to grade hospitals are flawed and they do not accurately portray a picture of the safety efforts made by hospitals," noted HealthLeaders.

Facing similar criticism, hospital ratings on the Internet or in magazines like the U.S. News & World Report "America's Best Hospitals" and HealthGrades "Best Hospitals" have come under fire, perceived as misleading and incomplete.

To learn more:
- read the Leapfrog announcement
- check out the Hospital Safety Score website
- here's the HealthLeaders article