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The Nation’s Leading Scorecard on Hospital Safety Breaks Down Results Across Red and Blue States

WASHINGTON D.C. – In the wake of a high stakes mid-term election, The Leapfrog Group announced today that neither party can claim victory in addressing preventable errors and infections in hospitals, which studies say kill more than 500 people every day in the United States. The fall 2018 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades released today assessed more than 2,600 hospitals across the country and found that serious harm or death from medical errors are problematic across blue and red states.

The independent, nonprofit grading system assigns “A,” “B,” “C,” “D” and “F” letter grades to general acute-care hospitals in the United States. Administered on behalf of employers and other purchasers, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is the nation’s only rating system focused entirely on errors, accidents, injuries and infections. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is reviewed by a National Expert Panel and receives guidance from the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public. It is updated every six months, once in the fall and once in the spring.

For the fall 2018 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades, 33 percent of hospitals in traditionally blue states and 32 percent of hospitals in traditionally red states received “A’s.”

  • The five states with the highest percentage of “A” hospitals this fall are New Jersey (blue), Oregon (blue), Virginia (blue), Massachusetts (blue), and Texas (red).
  • Red states with the highest percentage of “A” hospitals are Texas (43 percent), North Carolina (43 percent) and Ohio (42 percent).
  • The five states with the lowest percentage of “A” hospitals are Connecticut (blue), Nebraska (red), Washington, D.C. (blue), Delaware (blue) and North Dakota (red).

The analysis of red and blue states was sourced from the nonpartisan interactive electoral map, 270toWin, and was based on data from the 2016 presidential election.

“Health care was an important issue in the 2018 mid-term elections, yet both parties are still neglecting the third leading cause of death in America—errors and infections in hospitals,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “Every elected official, from city councilors, to senators, to the President, should hold hospitals accountable and support efforts to improve patient safety.”

Across all states, additional Hospital Safety Grade findings include:

  • Of more than 2,600 hospitals graded, 32 percent earned an “A,” 24 percent earned a “B,” 37 percent a “C,” 6 percent a “D” and just under 1 percent an “F”
  • Hospitals with “F” grades are located in California (blue), Florida (red), Illinois (blue), Indiana (red), Louisiana (red), Mississippi (red), New York (blue), New Jersey (blue), New Mexico (blue) and South Carolina (red)
  • There are no “A” hospitals in Washington, D.C., Delaware or North Dakota
  • Impressively, 42 hospitals nationwide have achieved an “A” in every grading update since the launch of the Safety Grade in spring 2012

To further address patient safety concerns, The Leapfrog Group expanded its rating this year to include an assessment of hospital use of Bar Code Medication Administration (BCMA), which helps reduce the risk of giving the wrong medication to a patient at the bedside. With medication errors accounting for the most common errors made in hospitals, and harm from these mistakes affecting as many as one in four patients, measures like BCMA indicate whether hospitals are establishing systems known to help their staff avoid such problems.

Elected officials have a role to play in expanding the reporting of transparent patient safety data and improving patient safety—along with health systems, employers and the public at large. The Leapfrog Group’s testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee in September offered guidance for a federal approach to improving transparency.

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. Journalists interested in scheduling an interview should contact