By John Commins
One third of the 2,600 general, acute care hospitals across the nation  rated in The Leapfrog Group’s fall 2019 Hospital Safety Grades  got an ‘A,’ grade, while 1% flunked, the patient safety monitors said.
Leapfrog grades are based upon  process and structural measures such as hand hygiene, risk mitigation, and discharge communication, as well as outcome measures such as falls, pressure ulcers, and infections.
The safety ratings’ release coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Institute of Medicine’s shocking report, To Err Is Human , which showed that nearly 100,000 people die every year due to preventable medical errors. Other research has shown that number could be twice as high.
“The findings of the IOM report, published two decades ago, laid the foundation of what The Leapfrog Group stands for today,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “In stark contrast to 20 years ago, we’re now able to pinpoint where the problems are, and that allows us to grade hospitals.”
“It also allows us to better track progress. Encouragingly, we are seeing fewer deaths from the preventable errors we monitor in our grading process,” she said.
Among the findings:
- More than 2,600 hospitals graded with the breakdown as follows: 33% earned an “A,”  25% earned a “B,” 34% earned a “C,” 8% a “D” and just under 1% an “F.”
- The five states with the highest percentages of “A” hospitals are: Maine (59%), Utah (56%), Virginia (56%), Oregon (48%) and North Carolina (47%).
- There are no “A” hospitals in three states: Wyoming, Alaska and North Dakota.
- Notably, 36 hospitals nationwide have achieved an “A” in every grading update since the launch of the Safety Grade in spring 2012.
Earlier this year, Leapfrog commissioned 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.
The study estimated that 160,000 lives are lost each year from the avoidable medical errors identified in the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, down from 205,000 avoidable deaths in 2016.
The Johns Hopkins analysis found that “D” and “F” hospitals have nearly twice the risk of mortality of “A” hospitals, and that more than 50,000 lives could be saved if all hospitals performed at the level of “A” graded hospitals.
John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders,  a Simplify Compliance brand.