How Safe Are U.S. Hospitals?

By Dan Hounsell
May 5, 2021

Hospital safety has never been scrutinized more heavily than it has over the last 14 months as healthcare facilities have worked their way through the COVID-19 pandemic. So just how safe are the nation’s hospitals?

The Leapfrog Group, a national watchdog organization of employers and other purchasers focused on health care safety and quality, recently released the spring 2021 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades, which assign an A, B, C, D or F letter grade to more than 2,700 general acute-care hospitals in the United States. The grade is the only rating solely focused on a hospital’s ability to protect patients from preventable errors, accidents, injuries, and infections.

The grade uses up to 27 national performance measures to grade hospitals using a methodology developed with guidance from experts in patient safety. This most recent data was collected immediately prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Highlights of findings from the spring grades include:

  • Thirty-three percent of hospitals received an A, 24 percent received a B, 35 percent received a C, 7 percent received a D, and less than 1 percent received an F.
  • Five states with the highest percentages of A hospitals are Massachusetts, Idaho, Maine, Virginia and North Carolina.
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