One Third of US Acute-Care Hospitals Get 'A' on Patient Safety: Survey

Megan Brooks

November 07, 2019

Patient safety in US general acute-care hospitals has improved, with fewer patients dying from preventable errors, accidents, injuries, and infections, The Leapfrog Group said today in its latest hospital safety grades.

Using 28 evidence-based measures of patient safety, the nonprofit watchdog organization calculated a numerical score for more than 2600 US hospitals and converted the score into letter grades, with "A" representing the best grade and "F" the worst. One third of the hospitals achieved an A and fewer than 1% got a failing grade.


Percentage of US Hospitals











The five states with the highest percentages of A hospitals are: Maine (59%), Utah (56%), Virginia (56%), Oregon (48%), and North Carolina (47%). Three states — Wyoming, Alaska, and North Dakota — have no A hospitals.

Notably, 36 hospitals nationwide have achieved an A in every grading update since the launch of the Safety Grade in 2012, the organization said.

"Encouragingly, we are seeing fewer deaths from the preventable errors we monitor in our grading process," Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, said in a statement.

The report notes that in 2015, there were an estimated 205,000 avoidable patient deaths in US hospitals; by 2018, the number had fallen to 160,000.

But the risk of dying depends on the hospital, the group said. Compared with an A hospital, the risk of dying increases to 35% at B hospitals, 88% at C hospitals, and 92% at D and F hospitals, the group calculates.

They say 50,215 lives could be saved every year if B, C, D, and F hospitals improved their patient safety record to that achieved by A hospitals.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is reviewed by a national expert panel and receives guidance from the Armstrong Institute. It is updated every 6 months, once in the fall and once in the spring.

More information on The Leapfrog Group's fall 2019 Hospital Safety Grades, including scoring methodology, is available online.

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