Leapfrog Group recently found themselves the target of a lawsuit when Saint Anthony Hospital, based in the Chicago area, claimed bad data led to a mediocre ranking in the latest round of the nonprofit agency’s Hospital Safety Grades. In a freshly filed affirmative defense document, Leapfrog Group maintains Saint Anthony Hospital is solely responsible for any inaccurate data.
Further, the patient safety group asserts Saint Anthony Hospital had time and opportunity to correct the record ahead of the newest grades.
“The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade relies on publicly reported data that hospitals have had the opportunity to review for accuracy,” says Erica Mobley, Leapfrog Group’s director of operations. “Prior to each release of the Safety Grade, Leapfrog holds a courtesy three-week Safety Grade Review Period to give hospitals an additional opportunity to review the data that will be used to calculate their Safety Grade, providing them with ample opportunity to flag any data discrepancies.”
In the Fall 2017 edition of the Hospital Safety Grades, Saint Anthony Hospital was hit with a C. Over 950 hospitals were given the same letter grade, making it the most common grade in the most recent survey. Saint Anthony Hospital received the top mark of A on the previous report card from Leapfrog Group.
The primary reason for the diminished grade was the hospital’s reported rate of using electronic tools to prescribe medication. According to Leapfrog Group’s document, Saint Anthony Hospital reported using their computerized physician order entry system about 60 percent of time. That’s less than optimum, Leapfrog Group argues, noting that the use of electronic systems for prescriptions reduces errors that can compromise patient safety.
Saint Anthony Hospital says their physicians actually use electronic prescribing tools around 95 percent of time, a rate that likely would have kept the facility at an A. In the lawsuit, Saint Anthony claims they repeatedly reached out to Leapfrog Group to adjust the self-reported data.
In the defense filing, Leapfrog Group says Saint Anthony failed to contact them about adjusting the electronic prescription numbers during any of the review periods established for healthcare providers to fact-check the data. According to the document, Leapfrog group didn’t hear from Saint Anthony hospital until six days before publication of the grades.
“Leapfrog was compelled to adhere to its established procedures and timetables for data submission, review, and the calculation of Safety Grades in order to maintain consistency and
fairness in its grading process,” the defense filing states.
“It’s unfortunate when any hospital uses a poor Safety Grade to try to disparage the methodology or process,” Mobley says. “We’ve been very pleased to see a number of hospitals, even some that received Ds or Fs, instead use a low grade as an opportunity to commit to improvement.”
Mobley points out that some healthcare facilities have even used disappointing grades in public relations pushes similar to those mounted by hospitals earning top marks.
“Several hospitals that we’re aware of have issued memos to staff, put out press releases, or even held press briefings to alert their community that they know they can do better, and used their low grade as an opportunity to make a public commitment to improving the safety of care they offer to all their patients,” says Mobley.
The lawsuit remains an open case in Cook County Circuit Court, and Leapfrog Group notes defending their methods is paramount.
“When there is a public discourse that contains factual inaccuracies about Leapfrog’s policies and processes regarding data integrity and our ratings programs, we intend to take whatever steps necessary to correct falsehoods,” says Mobley.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense, Industry regulations