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New Hospital Safety Grades Find Significant Improvements in Patient Experience Reports and Health Care-Associated Infections

WASHINGTON, DC—May 1, 2024—The Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit driving a movement for patient safety, today released its spring 2024 Hospital Safety Grades, assigning an “A,” “B,” “C,” “D” or “F” to nearly 3,000 general hospitals on how well they prevent medical errors, accidents and infections. Nationally, patient experience—a set of measures using patient-reported perspectives on hospital care—indicates significant signs of improvement since the fall 2023 Safety Grades, and preventable health care-associated infections show a sustained drop after unprecedented rates during the height of the pandemic.

In addition to assigning letter grades to individual hospitals, The Leapfrog Group also reports best patient safety performance by state and, for the first time, by metro area based on highest percentage of “A” hospitals. In spring 2024, Utah ranks number one among states for the second cycle in a row. The top three metro areas are Allentown (Pennsylvania), Winston-Salem (North Carolina), and New Orleans (Louisiana).

“Patient experience is very difficult to influence without delivering better care, so these findings are encouraging,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “We were also pleased to see the decrease in preventable infections, which cause terrible suffering and sometimes death. When we look at these positive trends, we see lives saved—and that is gratifying.”

Patient experience is measured through the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey, which the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) uses to publicly report patients' perspectives of hospital care.

Of the over 30 measures used to generate Hospital Safety Grades, The Leapfrog Group reports on five patient experience measures that have a direct impact on patient safety outcomes:

  • Nurse Communication
  • Doctor Communication
  • Hospital staff responsiveness
  • Communication about medicines
  • Discharge information

Since the start of the pandemic, patient experience has worsened. This spring has shown the first sign of improvement with all measures significantly improving since fall 2023, but the measures are still far from pre-pandemic levels.

Since Leapfrog reported Hospital Safety Grades in fall 2022, when HAI rates were at their highest peak since 2016, 92% of hospitals have improved performance on at least one of three dangerous preventable infections. Average HAI scores have declined dramatically:

  • Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) decreased by 34% 
  • Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) decreased by 30%   
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) decreased by 30% 

"While today’s results are promising, patient safety remains a crisis-level hazard in health care. Some hospitals are much better than others at protecting patients from harm, and that’s why we make the Hospital Safety Grade available to the public and why we encourage all hospitals to focus more attention on safety,” said Binder. According to a summary of peer-reviewed research published in BMJ, an estimated 250,000 people a year die of preventable errors and infections in hospitals, which makes patient safety problems the third leading cause of death in the United States.

State and Metro Area Rankings

The top 10 states with the highest percentage of “A” hospitals are as follows:

For metropolitan areas, Leapfrog used core-based statistical areas (CBSAs) used by the U.S. Census and determined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The 25 metro areas with the highest percentage of “A” hospitals are the following:

Leapfrog rankings were limited to areas with populations of 500,000 or greater with at least 6 graded hospitals.

About Leapfrog

Founded in 2000 by large employers and other purchasers, The Leapfrog Group is an independent national nonprofit organization driving a movement for giant leaps for patient safety. Among its initiatives, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade was launched in 2012 and assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents and infections. It is the only hospital ratings program based exclusively on hospital prevention of medical errors and harm to patients. It is fully transparent and free to the public, and grades are updated biannually in the fall and in the spring. To look up your hospital’s Safety Grade, please visit For more from Leapfrog, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram and sign up for our newsletter