Leapfrog safety grades: 26 hospitals in N.J. get ‘A’ grade in pre-pandemic review

26 more hospitals get a ‘B’ — putting N.J. well above national average for quality

Twenty-six of the 68 hospitals in New Jersey earned an “A” grade in the Spring 2021 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades, when the latest version of the twice-annual look at hospital safety was released by the national watchdog organization Thursday morning.

New Jersey, as a state, did quite well, as 26 additional hospitals were given a “B” grade, meaning more than 76% of N.J. hospitals were in the top two tiers. Nationally, only 57% of the more than 2,700 hospitals graded were given an “A” or “B.”

Only one New Jersey hospital scored lower than a “C” — East Orange General, which scored a “D.”

Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston was the only New Jersey hospital among 27 nationally that has received an “A” rating in every biannual grading cycle since the launch of the Safety Grades in spring 2012.

See the full list here.

To be clear, the grades assigned came from a look at safety from the time period just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is the only rating solely focused on a hospital’s ability to protect patients from preventable errors, accidents, injuries and infections. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses up to 27 national performance measures to grade hospitals using a methodology developed with guidance from the foremost experts in patient safety.

And, while this most recent data was collected immediately prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Leapfrog CEO Leah Binder said the information likely tells how hospitals have performed during the pandemic.

“We find that straight-‘A’ hospitals have strong structures of safety in place,” she said. “These hospitals are continuously learning, monitoring data and addressing areas of improvement.”

Straight-“A” hospitals have shared how they were better prepared for COVID-19 thanks to their sustained leadership focus on patient safety as a top institutional priority.

“Hospitals with a consistent pattern of protecting patients from errors, accidents and injuries, like these straight-‘A’ hospitals, seem to have been more prepared when the pandemic hit,” Binder said. “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. 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 Leapfrog Group said it assigned A-F grades to more than 2,700 general acute-care hospitals in the U.S.

The next Leapfrog Group grades, which will be released in the fall, will detail how hospitals performed during the pandemic.

“This pandemic emphasized how much we rely on America’s health care workforce,” Binder said. “Our straight-‘A’ hospitals remind us how preparedness protected their patients as well as their workforce and created a high level of organizational resilience. As we emerge from the pandemic, hospitals need to double down on safety, so they save lives, strengthen their organizations and position themselves to withstand the next crisis. Putting safety first should be the priority of every hospital CEO.”

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is reviewed by a National Expert Panel and receives guidance from the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is updated twice per year. It is independently assessed, peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public.

For more information about the Safety Grades, as well as individual hospital grades and state rankings, click here.

Below is a look at all the New Jersey grades.