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The Leapfrog Group releases latest Hospital Safety Grades of U.S. hospitals, with straight ‘A’ hospitals sharing insights on how they were prepared for COVID-19

WASHINGTON, April 29, 2021—The Leapfrog Group, a national watchdog organization of employers and other purchasers focused on health care safety and quality, today released the spring 2021 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades, which assign an "A," "B," "C," "D," or "F" letter grade to more than 2,700 general acute-care hospitals in the U.S. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is the only rating solely focused on a hospital’s ability to protect patients from preventable errors, accidents, injuries, and infections.

Notably, 27 hospitals across the U.S. have achieved 19 consecutive “A” grades, which represents an “A” in every biannual grading cycle since the launch of the Safety Grade in spring 2012.

“We find that straight ‘A’ hospitals have strong structures of safety in place,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “These hospitals are continuously learning, monitoring data, and addressing areas of improvement.”

Straight “A” hospitals have shared how they were better prepared for COVID-19 thanks to their sustained leadership focus on patient safety as a top institutional priority.

“Hospitals with a consistent pattern of protecting patients from errors, accidents, and injuries, like these straight ‘A’ hospitals, seem to have been more prepared when the pandemic hit,” Binder said. “For many, safety and quality are embedded in their daily work at all levels of the organization, which prepared them in turn to respond to the rapidly evolving pandemic. As a part of this culture, straight ‘A’ hospitals have consistently shown a commitment to their workforce, empowering them to ask questions and share safety concerns.”

Testimonial statements and videos from straight “A” hospitals can be found on the Hospital Safety Grade website.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses up to 27 national performance measures to grade hospitals using a methodology developed with guidance from the foremost experts in patient safety.  This most recent data was collected immediately prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Binder added that performance measures used in this spring’s Grade serve as a proxy for the safety of care provided to COVID-19 patients in many ways. For example, a hospital with infection control procedures in place is better equipped to protect patients and health care workers. Additionally, staffing intensive care units with intensivists and monitoring hand hygiene compliance have been shown to significantly reduce harm to patients, regardless of their condition.

“This pandemic emphasized how much we rely on America’s health care workforce,” Binder said. “Our straight ‘A’ hospitals remind us how preparedness protected their patients as well as their workforce and created a high level of organizational resilience. As we emerge from the pandemic, hospitals need to double down on safety, so they save lives, strengthen their organizations, and position themselves to withstand the next crisis. Putting safety first should be the priority of every hospital CEO.”

Across all states, highlights of findings from the spring 2021 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade include:

  • Thirty-three percent of hospitals received an "A," 24% received a "B," 35% received a "C," 7% received a "D," and less than 1% received an "F"
  • Five states with the highest percentages of "A" hospitals are Massachusetts, Idaho, Maine, Virginia, and North Carolina
  • There were no "A" hospitals in South Dakota or North Dakota

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is reviewed by a National Expert Panel and receives guidance from the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is updated twice per year. It is independently assessed, peer-reviewed, fully transparent, and free to the public.

Additionally, The Leapfrog Group is announcing planned updates to the fall 2021 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade and inviting public comment. Click here to review. For more information about the Safety Grades, as well as individual hospital grades and state rankings, please visit and follow The Leapfrog Group on Facebook and Twitter.


About The Leapfrog Group

Founded in 2000 by large employers and other purchasers, The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for giant leaps forward in the quality and safety of American health care. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey and new Leapfrog Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) Survey collect and transparently report hospital and ASC performance, empowering purchasers to find the highest-value care and giving consumers the lifesaving information they need to make informed decisions. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, Leapfrog’s other main initiative, 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.