Hospital Safety Score–Leapfrog Style

A new site and hospital grading system went up yesterday, developed by The Leapfrog Group.  It combines both HHS and Leapfrog metrics to produce a letter grade, and was vetted by objective national quality experts (which does not make it ideal of course).  Your hospital is almost certainly in the database.  Take a look here.

Unquestionably, folks are not happy:

–New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center, which also got a C, says the report card’s methodology hasn’t been validated, is highly subjective, and creates results that are confusing for consumers.

“It is an incomplete and imperfect snapshot, and much of the analysis is based on outdated information from disparate sources,” the hospital said in a statement provided to the Health Blog. “Leapfrog’s analysis is simply not indicative of the quality of care patients receive at Mount Sinai.”

–The Cleveland Clinic also questioned the survey’s methodology [received a C grade], saying it relied on outdated data.  Quality and patient safety officer Shannon Phillips says the hospital has reduced central-line infections every year since 2009. It is now below the 1 infection per 1,000 central-line days cited in the safety score.

–“We have concerns about relying on methodologies which utilize self-reporting questionnaires, which in this case can carry significant weight,” says Keith Woeltje, director of the clinical-advisory group at St. Louis-based BJC HealthCare, whose Barnes-Jewish Hospital got a C grade. Barnes-Jewish encourages patients to seek data on the Department of Health and Human Services’ Hospital Compare site.

My hospital also received a C rating, and here is the bell curve:

Leapfrog gave 729 hospitals an “A” grade, 679 hospitals a “B” and 1,111 hospitals a “C.” Another 132 hospitals were scored with “Grade Pending,” Leapfrog’s euphemism for below a “C.”

Of course there is going to be complaining, but notice the boldface above.  Do you think the same hospitals that receive mediocre grades will trumpet lack of validation when they read this, circulate their glowing media copy, and then oops, stumble on to this?

I don’t think so.

Brad Flansbaum

Bradley Flansbaum, DO, MPH, MHM works for Geisinger Health System in Danville, PA in both the divisions of hospital medicine and population health. He began working as a hospitalist in 1996, at the inception of the hospital medicine movement. He is a founding member of the Society of Hospital Medicine and served as a board member and officer. He speaks nationally in promoting hospital medicine and has presented at many statewide meetings and conferences. He is also actively involved in house staff education.

Currently, he serves on the SHM Public Policy Committee and has an interest in payment policy, healthcare market competition, health disparities, cost-effectiveness analysis, and pain and palliative care. He is SHM’s delegate for the AMA House of Delegates.

Dr. Flansbaum received his undergraduate degree from Union College in Schenectady, NY and attended medical school at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his residency and chief residency in Internal Medicine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York. He received his M.P.H. in Health Policy and Management at Columbia University.

He is a political junky, and loves to cook, stay fit, read non-fiction, listen to many genres of music, and is a resident of Danville, PA.

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