PRINCETON — April 29, 2021 — The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit representing the nation’s largest and most influential employers and purchasers of health care, today announced the spring 2021 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades. The independent grading system assigns A, B, C, D, and F letter grades to 2,700 general acute-care hospitals in the U.S. based on their ability to protect patients from avoidable errors, injuries, accidents and infections.
In New Jersey, all 68 acute care hospitals in the state received a grade. An analysis of the New Jersey data shows:
- 26 A hospitals – 38% (1 more A than last round)
- 26 B hospitals – 38% (2 more Bs than last round)
- 15 C hospitals – 22% (1 fewer C than last round)
- 1 D hospital – 1% (2 fewer Ds than last round)
- 0 F hospital – 0% (0 change for F than last round)
Ten hospitals moved up a grade and four hospitals moved down a grade. As a state, New Jersey moved up from number 17 to number 14 in the safety grade national ranking, which is based on the percentage of “A” grade hospitals. Saint Barnabas Medical Center was the only New Jersey hospital and just one of 27 hospitals in the nation to have achieved straight A grades since the Leapfrog grading began in 2012.
“Overall, New Jersey improved in our standing nationally in the number of A hospitals in our state,” said Linda Schwimmer, President and CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, the Regional Leader in New Jersey for Leapfrog. “We are also pleased to see the state- owned University Hospital improve its grade, which is now a C. We look forward to seeing that improvement continue.” In recent years, University Hospital has received Ds and Fs.
Also of note, East Orange General Hospital remained a D hospital and is the only hospital in the state that received a D. There were no F grades.
Once again, New Jersey had 100 percent of general acute-care hospitals participate in the Leapfrog survey.
This most recent data was collected immediately prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Leah Binder, President and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, called the performance measures used in this spring’s Grade a proxy for the safety of care provided to COVID-19 patients in many ways. Top-rated hospitals with a culture of safety procedures in place are better equipped to protect patients and health care workers.
“For many, safety and quality are embedded in their daily work at all levels of the organization, which prepared them in turn to respond to the rapidly evolving pandemic,” Binder said. “As a part of this culture, straight A hospitals have consistently shown a commitment to their workforce, empowering them to ask questions and share safety concerns.”
The Hospital Safety Grade comes on the heels of Leapfrog’s maternity report. The maternity report showed that New Jersey hospitals are moving in the right direction and reducing Cesarean sections, early elective deliveries, and episiotomies. The report looks at these as well as two other measures.
“While there were some specific and regional exceptions, New Jersey is moving in the right direction and improving maternity care,” Schwimmer said. She credited the state’s focus on improving birth outcomes and reducing maternal mortality, in particular Nurture NJ, the statewide strategic plan championed by First Lady Tammy Murphy in partnership with many state agencies and community partners.
For the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, the calculations and grading remained consistent from the Fall 2020 methodology. Hospitals will submit a new round of data by August 2021, which will be used in the Fall 2021 calculations.
There will be some methodology changes in the 2021 survey. Leapfrog has added two new sets of questions in 2021 to assess whether hospitals and surgery centers practice ethical billing and track and address disparities in care that affect patient care. Leapfrog’s employer constituency and multiple other stakeholders, along with compelling research, highlights the importance of pursuing ethical billing practices and addressing health inequities to improve patient outcomes.
The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses national performance measures to grade hospitals using a methodology developed with guidance from the foremost experts in patient safety.
About the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute
The New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute’s (Quality Institute) mission is to improve the safety, quality, and affordability of health care for everyone. Our membership comes from all stakeholders in health care. Together with our 100 plus members, we are working toward a world where all people receive safe, equitable, and affordable health care and live their healthiest lives.
Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram| www.NJHCQI.org
About The Leapfrog Group
Founded in 2000 by large employers and other purchasers, The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for giant leaps forward in the quality and safety of American health care. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey and new Leapfrog Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) Survey collect and transparently report hospital and ASC performance, empowering purchasers to find the highest-value care and giving consumers the lifesaving information they need to make informed decisions. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, Leapfrog’s other main initiative, assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents and infections.