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New Report Finds Risk of Death Nearly Doubles for Patients Using Hospitals Graded As “D” or “F”
WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit representing the nation’s largest and most influential employers and purchasers of health care, released the new spring 2019 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades. In conjunction, The Leapfrog Group contracted with the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality to update its estimate of deaths due to errors, accidents, injuries and infections at “A”, “B”, “C”, “D” and “F” hospitals. Researchers assessed more than 2,600 hospitals receiving Hospital Safety Grades and found that when compared to “A” hospitals:
- Patients at “D” and “F” hospitals face a 92% greater risk of avoidable death
- Patients at “C” hospitals on average face an 88% greater risk of avoidable death
- Patients at “B” hospitals on average face a 35% greater risk of avoidable death
Even ‘A” hospitals are not perfectly safe, but researchers found they are getting safer. If all hospitals had an avoidable death rate equivalent to “A” hospitals, 50,000 lives would have been saved, versus 33,000 lives that would have been saved by “A” level performance in 2016.
Overall, an estimated 160,000 lives are lost annually from the avoidable medical errors that are accounted for in the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, a significant improvement from 2016, when researchers estimated 205,000 avoidable deaths.
“The good news is that tens of thousands of lives have been saved because of progress on patient safety. The bad news is that there’s still a lot of needless death and harm in American hospitals,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of the Leapfrog Group. “Hospitals don’t all have the same track record, so it really matters which hospital people choose, which is the purpose of our Hospital Safety Grade.”
The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades are an independent, nonprofit grading system that 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. Methodology underlying the Safety Grade is reviewed by a National Expert Panel and receives guidance from the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, which also prepared the white paper on estimated deaths associated with patient safety. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public. Grades are assigned twice a year in the spring and fall.
Across all states, additional Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade findings for spring 2019 include:
- Of more than 2,600 hospitals graded, 32% earned an “A,” 26% earned a “B,” 36% earned a “C,” 6% a “D” and just under 1% an “F”
- The top five states with the highest percentages of “A” hospitals are: Oregon (58%), Virginia (53%), Maine (50%), Massachusetts (48%), and Utah (48%)
- There are no “A” hospitals in Wyoming, Alaska, Washington, D.C., Delaware or North Dakota
- Impressively, 41 hospitals nationwide have achieved an “A” in every grading update since the launch of the Safety Grade in spring 2012
The white paper estimated the number of deaths based on the average hospital performance in each grade category; individual hospital performance within a letter grade may vary. The estimates do not account for mortality from all medical errors, but from those measurable using existing public data.
For more information about the Safety Grades as well as individual hospital grades and state rankings, please visit hospitalsafetygrade.org and follow The Leapfrog Group on Facebook and Twitter. Journalists interested in scheduling an interview with a Leapfrog representative or a patient advocate should contact Leapfrogpr@jpa.com.