Group Insurance Commission Responds to Latest Update to the Hospital Safety Score

November 7, 2013

BOSTON– The updated Hospital Safety Scores – the “A,” “B,” “C,” “D” or “F” grades assigned to U.S. general hospitals based on infections, injuries and errors – were recently released by patient safety advocate  The Leapfrog Group, an independent nonprofit organization representing employer purchasers of health care. Scores were assigned to 63 acute care hospitals in Massachusetts, with 48 receiving an “A,” the highest score.

“Massachusetts is proud to recognize our local hospitals that earned ‘A’ Hospital Safety Scores, including ten hospitals whose scores improved to an ‘A’  –  Boston Medical Center, Beth Israel Deaconess-Milton Hospital (Milton), Charlton Memorial Hospital (Fall River), Emerson Hospital (Concord), Jordan Hospital (Plymouth), Mercy Medical Center (Springfield), Merrimack Valley Hospital (Haverhill), Nashoba Valley Medical Center (Ayer), St. Luke’s Hospital (New Bedford) and Tobey Hospital (Wareham),” said Dolores L. Mitchell, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission. “We hope these hospitals will continue to strive for a consistent level of safety excellence and that other local hospitals will follow that example.”

The Hospital Safety Score is designed to give the public information they can use to protect themselves and their families, in an effort to prevent the more than 400,000 deaths estimated to occur in the United States every year due to hospital errors. The Hospital Safety Score is compiled under the guidance of the nation’s leading experts on patient safety and is the first and only hospital safety rating to be analyzed in the peer-reviewed Journal of Patient Safety.

“As patients begin to take a more active role in selecting where to receive health care, it has never been more important to focus on hospital safety and transparency. Hospitals with outstanding safety performance are helping us to raise the standard of health care nationwide,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of Leapfrog. “We offer our congratulations to those hospitals and ask for all hospitals nationwide to renew their commitment to improving safety standards in the coming year.”

“Massachusetts citizens should use every resource available to protect themselves and their families during a hospital visit, including the Hospital Safety Score. It is one important piece of information they can use to locate hospitals with the best patient safety record and to formulate questions for their doctors based on the hospital’s performance on individual measures,” said Mitchell.

Calculated under the guidance of Leapfrog’s Blue Ribbon Panel of patient safety experts, the Hospital Safety Score uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to produce a single score that represents a hospital’s overall performance in patient safety. Leapfrog added two new measures to the latest Hospital Safety Score release, including Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTIs) and Surgical Site Infections: Colon (SSI: Colon). While CAUTIs and SSI: Colon have not received as much public attention as other measures, they are among the most common hospital infections and claim a combined 18,000 lives each year. With data from the CMS Hospital Compare website as well as the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, Leapfrog now has the publicly available data needed to calculate these critical measures into the Score.

For more information on the Hospital Safety Score, or to find out the score of your local hospital, visit Hospital Safety Score.

About the Group Insurance Commission

The Group Insurance Commission (GIC) was established by the Legislature in 1955 to provide and administer health insurance and other benefits to the Commonwealth's employees and retirees, and their dependents and survivors. The GIC also covers housing and redevelopment authorities' personnel, participating municipalities, and retired municipal employees and teachers in certain governmental units. The Group Insurance Commission is a quasi-independent state agency governed by a seventeen-member Commission appointed by the Governor. Commission members encompass a range of interests and expertise including labor and retirees, the public interest, the administration, and health economics.

About The Leapfrog Group

The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization using the collective leverage of large purchasers of health care to initiate breakthrough improvements in the safety, quality and affordability of health care for Americans. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey allows purchasers to structure their contracts and purchasing to reward the highest performing hospitals. The Leapfrog Group was founded in November 2000 with support from the Business Roundtable and national funders and is now independently operated with support from its purchaser and other members.

This information provided by the Group Insurance Commission.