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July 8, 2022

The 148 best hospitals, according to Leapfrog and Money

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    The Leapfrog Group and Money, formerly Money Magazine, on Wednesday released their first-ever shared ranking of "The Best Hospitals in America" to help consumers make informed decisions about which institutions are best for their money.

    Cheat sheet: See how Leapfrog calculates its ratings


    For the list, Leapfrog used data from 39 performance measures across seven different categories in its 2021 hospital survey, which was completed by participants by Aug. 31, 2021. These categories included inpatient care management, adult and pediatric complex surgeries, pediatric care, medication safety, maternity care, outpatient procedures, and infections.

    To be eligible for the list, hospitals were required to have received an "A" letter grade on Leapfrog's fall 2021 Hospital Safety Grades. Hospitals were also disqualified if they earned a grade of "C" or lower on the spring 2022 Hospital Safety Grades assessment. In addition, Leapfrog applied nine criteria for various measures and evaluated a specific set of criteria for pediatric hospitals.

    Ultimately, 148 hospitals made the "Best Hospitals" list. They were separated into several categories, including general hospitals, children's hospitals, rural hospitals, large teaching hospitals with more than 500 staffed beds, and small teaching hospitals with less than 500 staffed beds.

    The nine criteria applied to all hospital types (unless otherwise indicated) included:

    1. Safe medication ordering practices

    Hospitals were required to meet Leapfrog's standard for Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE), which measures how well an institution has adopted CPOE, and whether the system's tools are working effectively.

    * The CPOE Evaluation Tool does not apply to pediatric hospitals.

    2. Specially trained doctors must care for critical care patients

    Hospitals were required to meet Leapfrog's standard for ICU physician staffing, with an adequate number of physicians who are board-certified in critical care medicine.

    * Rural hospitals must earn either "Achieved the Standard" or "Considerable Achievement" to qualify. 

    3. Response to 'Never Events'

    Hospitals must by fully compliant with Leapfrog's Never Events policy, which asks hospitals to commit to taking nine basic steps if a never event, a serious medical error that should never happen, occurs.

    4. Experience of children and their parents

    Hospitals that provide care to children should survey those children and their families on key issues, including communication with their care team, communication about medications, and whether they were told how to report any potential problems.

    * This only applies to pediatric hospitals.

    5. Radiation dose for abdomen, pelvis, and head scans

    Hospitals must achieve Leapfrog's standard on each type of body scan by monitoring dosage and adjusting levels based on each child's size.

    * This only applies to pediatric hospitals.

    6. Leapfrog Hospital Survey performance measures

    Hospitals must report on all applicable performance measures and meet Leapfrog's standard on a minimum of 40% of measures for large teaching hospitals, 50% for pediatric and rural hospitals, and 60% for general hospitals and small teaching hospitals.

    7. Grade received on Leapfrog's Hospital Safety Grade 

    Hospitals must receive an "A" grade on Leapfrog's publicly reported list.

    * This criterion does not apply to pediatric hospitals. Hospitals that earned a "C" grade or lower in the most recent spring 2022 Safety Grade were also excluded.

    8. Top hospital designation

    Hospitals must demonstrate to the Top Hospital Selection Committee that the institution generally embodies the highest standards of excellence and is worth of Leapfrog's Top Hospital designation. Among these requirements, hospitals could not surpass national mortality rates for heart attacks, heart failure, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or coronary bypass surgery.

    * This criterion does not apply to pediatric hospitals.

    9. High-risk surgeries and procedures

    Hospitals must "achieve the standard" for over 50% of relevant surgeries or procedures.

    * This criterion does not apply to pediatric hospitals.

    Read the full list here.

    (Bean/Gamble, Becker's Hospital Review, 7/6; Money/Leapfrog, "The Best Hospitals in America," 7/6; Best Hospitals methodology, accessed 7/7)

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