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Report: Errors and Infections Still Serious Problem in American Hospitals

Massachusetts and Maine get best ratings (Nov. 28)

The latest update to the Hospital Safety Score — the A, B, C, D, or F scores assigned to U.S. hospitals based on preventable medical errors, injuries, accidents, and infections — shows that hospitals are making some progress, but many still have a long way to go to reliably deliver safe health care. For the first time, the Hospital Safety Score now identifies “D” and “F” hospitals, which represent the most hazardous environments for patients in need of care.

The Hospital Safety Score is compiled under the guidance of the nation’s leading experts on patient safety, and is administered by an independent, national, nonprofit organization, The Leapfrog Group. The new update uses 26 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to produce a single score representing a hospital’s overall success in keeping patients safe from infections, injuries, and medical and medication errors.

The update’s key findings include:

  • Of the 2,618 general hospitals issued a Hospital Safety Score, 790 earned an “A;” 678 earned a “B;” 1,004 earned a “C;” 121 earned a “D;” and 25 earned an “F.”
  • 58% of hospitals maintained the same grade level as they had in the scores issued in June 2012. Another 34% of hospitals changed by one grade level (some higher, some lower). About 8% of hospitals showed a more dramatic change, moving two grade levels or more up or down.
  • A wide range of hospitals earned “A’s,” with no one class of hospitals (e.g., teaching hospitals or public hospitals) dominating among those showing the highest safety scores. Hospitals earning an “A” included the academic medical centers New York Presbyterian Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Mayo Clinic. Many rural hospitals also earned an “A,” including Geisinger Medical Center and Blessing Hospital.
  • Hospitals with many national accolades, such as Massachusetts General Hospital, Duke University Hospital, and Cleveland Clinic Florida, each earned an “A.”
  • “A” scores were also earned by hospitals serving highly vulnerable, impoverished, and/or health-challenged populations, such as Bellevue Hospital Center and Detroit Receiving Hospital.

In analyzing statewide performance, Massachusetts and Maine showed outstanding hospital safety results, with 83% and 80% of hospitals in those states earning an “A” rating.

Source: The Leapfrog Group; November 28, 2012.

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