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Leapfrog Fall 2023 Hospital Safety Grade takeaways: New York systems need to improve, Utah reaches the top, and more


The organization released its Fall 2023 Hospital Safety Grades, and also found certain states faring better than others.

With its latest report card, The Leapfrog Group offers a look at patient safety in hospitals, and also the states that are faring better or worse in hospital performance.

The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization focused on patient safety, released its Fall 2023 Hospital Safety Grades today. The group assessed letter grades to nearly 3,000 hospitals across the country.

Overall grades

Nearly 30% of hospitals received an “A” in the fall 2023 safety grades, while 24% earned a “B”, and 39% of hospitals received a “B.”

On the low end of the scale, 7% of hospitals received a “D”, and less than 1% earned an “F.”

Leah Binder, president and CEO of the Leapfrog Group, says hospitals that receive grades under a “C” have a lot of work to do, but she adds that those organizations typically turn things around.

“Hospitals that get lower than a ‘C’ almost always move up at least to a ‘C’ and sometimes higher, very quickly,” Binder tells Chief Healthcare Executive®. “We rarely see hospitals that get repeated ‘D's’ or ‘F’s’ very rarely, which is good, because they recognize that that is just not acceptable ever in their community.”

Fewer infections, but patient scores fall

In its analysis, the Leapfrog Group found strong progress in reducing hospital-acquired infections in the fall report. The group found a disturbing spike in infections in the spring 2023 report, but the latest report found hospitals reduced central line infections, MRSA infections and catheter-associated infections.

On the flip side, hospitals suffered a drop in patient satisfaction measures, indicating room for improvement, Binder said.

The top states

The Leapfrog Group also looks at the states with the highest percentage of hospitals earning an “A,” and Utah topped the list for the first time. More than half (51.9%) of Utah’s hospitals received an “A” grade.

“I'm excited about that,” Binder says. “It’s nice to see new states emerge.”

Virginia came just behind Utah, with 50.7% of its hospitals getting an “A.”

The rest of the top 10 states with the highest share of “A” hospitals are North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Connecticut, Montana, Tennessee, Florida and Texas.

Subpar states, including New York

Some states don’t fare so well on the report card. There were no hospitals receiving an “A” in Vermont, Wyoming, Delaware, and North Dakota. There are no “A” hospitals in Washington, D.C., as well.

New York also continues to rank near the bottom in the Leapfrog Group report, ranking 42nd in the percentage of “A” hospitals. In New York, one in 9 hospitals (10.9%) received an “A” grade. New York also ranked 40th in the Leapfrog Group’s spring rankings.

Binder says New York’s performance is disappointing, particularly since so many young physicians are trained in the state. While New York has some hospitals that excel in patient safety, too many are not making it a priority, she says.

“It has a significant number of academic medical centers that are really critical infrastructure for our healthcare system, as a country,” Binder says. “And it's training the next generation. And nonetheless, they clearly put patient safety at the bottom of their list. Patients do not come first in the state of New York. I have been continually dismayed at how poorly the state does on the hospital safety grade.”

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