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Nation’s Most Dangerous Hospitals Becoming Even Riskier for Patients

The risk of dying, suffering an infection or being victimized by medical mistakes have worsened at America’s lowest ranked hospitals, according to a rating organization.

"These are the avoidable deaths – the deaths that are accidental or the result of a mistake made in the hospital," said Leah Binder, CEO of Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit that grades hospitals in a USA Today story.

Leapfrog Group is an independent nonprofit organization committed to safety in the U.S. health system.

How safe are you at a hospital?

Leapfrog Group’s findings are based on an analysis of 2,600 hospitals since 2016. Leapfrog Group’s study was undertaken with Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality.

Leapfrog Group’s hospital grading is based on an A-to-F system. Rankings showed 168 hospitals received a failing or near-failing grade.

Among hospitals that failed were St. John's Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, New York, United Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan.  The study estimated 160,000 people die a year from avoidable medical mistakes, a drop from the 205,000 estimated in 2016.

An official with the American Hospital Association, a trade group representing 5,000 hospitals and care providers, defended hospitals in light of the Leapfrog Group findings. They said improvements have been made in preventing infections and avoiding other safety problems that are more recent and might have been omitted in the evaluation.

Representatives of hospitals that scored poorly said rankings were skewed. They said their facilities treat sicker patients compared to higher-graded hospitals that have healthier, more affluent, patients that are less likely to have complications.

Leapfrog said its measurements, such as hospital infections, are adjusted to reflect sickness levels of patients.

Hospitals graded by risk

According to the Leapfrog Group hospital safety rating system, compared to being in a hospital graded A, a patient’s risk of dying increases by:

  • 34.5 percent in a B-graded hospital
  • 87.7 percent in a C-graded hospital
  • 91.8 percent in a hospital graded D or failing

How safe is your hospital? Click here to visit the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade to check.

Of the 2,600 hospitals Leapfrog Group evaluated, 41 have received only A’s since grading began in 2012. The A-listers include OhioHealth Methodist Hospital in Dublin, Ohio and Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital in Boston.

The five states with the highest percentage of A-rated hospitals were Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, Utah and Virginia.

Four states, Alaska, Delaware, North Dakota and Wyoming, along with Washington D.C., had zero A-rated hospitals in the Leapfrog Group evaluation.

Leapfrog was started by employers and labor unions that wanted more public information released about patient safety and quality of care. Medical errors, infections and injuries are all factored into ratings.

The ratings are based in part on patient responses to surveys, data provided to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the American Hospital Association. Contact Cherundolo Law Firm today for help with cases involving hospital-negligence deaths or other medical malpractice issues. Call experienced attorneys helping Syracuse victims now for a free case consultation.