A quarter of hospitals graded by Leapfrog fail to meet group's 'never events' standard

Photo of doctor and patient hands while discussing medical records after health examination
The Leapfrog standard for hospital policies includes steps such as offering an apology to the patient, not charging for the event, conducting a comprehensive root cause analysis, reporting the event to appropriate officials and implementing a protocol to care for the caregivers involved. (andrei_r/GettyImages)

One in four hospitals that participate in The Leapfrog Group's annual patient safety grades survey do not meet the national healthcare quality group's standard for handling serious reportable events that should never happen to a patient.

Leapfrog's 2019 Never Events Report is based on findings from its 2018 Leapfrog Hospital Survey with data voluntarily submitted by more than 2,000 U.S. hospitals. It is aimed at highlighting official hospital policies for responding to the 29 serious reportable events as identified by the National Quality Forum as never events.

Those events include errors and accidents that hospitals should always prevent, such as surgery on the wrong body part, foreign objects left in the body after surgery or death from a medication error.

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RELATED: Majority of avoidable patient deaths occur in hospitals with 'C' grade or below: Leapfrog

The report found that hospitals in urban areas were more often meeting Leapfrog's standard (77%) compared to hospitals in rural areas (64%).

In its report released in May, Leapfrog awarded a "D" or an "F" grade to about 7% of the hospitals it examined. It also found that patients treated at hospitals that earned "D" or "F" grades when it comes to patient safety face a 92% higher risk of death from avoidable medical errors than at hospitals with an "A" grade.

In the report, released with the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, officials estimated that 160,000 people died from avoidable medical errors in 2018. 

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