Is Your Hospital Safe? Report Card Measures Patient Safety, Medical Errors

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — A patient advocacy group has published a report card for California hospitals that measures how safe they keep their patients from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.

The Leapfrog Group, a Washington nonprofit, and its panel of experts analyzed public data using 28 performance measures for over 2,500 hospitals nationwide to determine overall performance.

The group then assigned Hospital Safety Scores based on the the weight of each measure which looks at evidence, opportunity for improvement, and impact. The score was converted to letter grades with “A” representing the best hospital safety score, followed in order by “B,” “C,” “D,” and “F.”

“Taken together, those performance measures produce a single score representing a hospital’s overall performance in keeping patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors,” the group says on its website.

An overall look at the survey shows that Bay Area hospitals received high scores, with several local hospitals earning an “A.”

In San Francisco, of the 11 hospitals analyzed by the group, only three fell short of getting an A grade (San Francisco General Hospital, “C”; St. Mary’s Medical Center, “B”; and Chinese Hospital on Jackson St., “D”).

Kaiser Foundation Hospital – South San Francisco was the only A-rated facility for San Mateo County, while Seton Medical Center hospitals in Daly City and Coastside (rated “D”) received the lowest scores.

Both Stanford Hospital and Clinics and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center were the two lowest marks for Santa Clara County hospitals, both were given C’s.

Doctor’s Medical Center of San Pablo, a D-rating, was the lowest grade for East and North Bay hospitals combined.

Across the state, 7 hospitals earned a failing grade.

Natividad Medical Center, in Salinas, which was given an “F.” According the group, the center received low scores due to its high number of incidences in which patients experienced accidental cuts and tears, dangerous blood clots, and serious breathing problems during a procedure.

Nationwide, as many as 440,000 people die every year from preventable injuries, accidents, and infections in hospitals, the group says.

“We know there are still far too many deaths due to medical errors and far too many patients harmed,” Missy Danforth, senior director of hospital ratings at Leapfrog Group, told the Los Angeles Times. “Not all hospitals are the same.”

Not every U.S. hospital is scored due to the limitations of some data, according to the group.


Visit The Leapfrog Group for complete scores at

How the Score is produced

The Hospital Safety Score uses national performance measures from the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and the American Hospital Association’s Annual Survey and Health Information Technology Supplement,” the group says on its site.

The Leapfrog Blue Ribbon Expert Panel selected 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data, analyzed the data and determined the weight of each measure based on evidence, opportunity for improvement and impact. Information from secondary sources supplemented any missing data to give hospitals as much credit as possible toward their Safety Score. The Hospital Safety Score places each measure into one of two domains: (1) Process/Structural Measures or (2) Outcome Measures, each accounting for 50 percent of the overall score.

Process Measures represent how often a hospital gives patients recommended treatment for a given medical condition or procedure. For example, “Use antibiotics right before surgery” measures how often a hospital gives patients an antibiotic within one hour before surgery.

Structural Measures represent the environment in which patients receive care. For example, “Doctors order medications through a computer” represents whether a hospital uses a special computerized system to prevent medication errors.

Outcome Measures represent what happens to a patient while receiving care. For example, “Dangerous object left in patient’s body” measures how many times a patient undergoing surgery had a dangerous foreign object, like a sponge or tool, left in his or her body.


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