Yes, Good Grades Matter. What Did Your Hospital Get?

The Fall 2018 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Ratings were just released, and if you’re living in any one of the following states: Washington DC, Delaware, North Dakota, Nebraska, Connecticut, New York or Iowa, I’m afraid it’s not the best news. No hospitals in DC, Delaware or North Dakota have an A for Safety, and in the other four states fewer than 10% earned an A. The state with the highest percentage of A-rated hospitals? New Jersey. (You listening, New York?) Still, even in New Jersey, only 56.7% of hospitals earned an A.

In case you’re wondering what these grades are, similar to the popular restaurant letter grades, Leapfrog began publishing letter grades for hospitals to help patients understand hospital safety. The Safety Grades tell you how hospitals are performing in keeping patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors. In an interview I conducted with Leah Binder, she explained why it’s important to pay attention to the Safety Grade, “…safety can nullify the value equation. An error in post-operative care, or an infection, can nullify the value of a positive surgical outcome. When this happens the financial and human costs are enormous and far outweigh the absolute cost of the surgery.”

If you’re an employer reading this, revisit your contracts and performance guarantees. Is safety part of your performance guarantee framework? If not, it should be. And don’t forget to look up your local hospital’s grade. Did it pass the safety test?

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