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June 7, 2012

Is your hospital safe? New site gives letter grades for patient safety

Here's a true but scary statement: Not all hospitals are created equal.

According to the nonprofit agency The Leapfrog Group, nearly 400 people die every day due to preventable hospital error. In an effort to make improvements and make hospitals more accountable, over 2,600 thousand of them will now receive a letter grade of A, B, C, D, or F in a Hospital Safety Score. Among other standards, hospitals will chiefly be judged on its level of patient safety.

The Hospital Safety Score was put together by The Leapfrog Group with the help of a Blue Ribbon Panel of health and safety experts.

"The Leapfrog Group's goal is to give patients the vital information they need and deserve before even entering a hospital," said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. "We hope people will use this score to talk with their doctor, make informed decisions about where to seek care, and take the right precautions during a hospital stay."

The Leapfrog Group says the national grading system is the first of its kind for hospitals, and it will highlight America's best hospitals and point out the worst ones.

The nonprofit group also says that one in four Medicare patients will exit a hospital with a potentially fatal condition they didn't have prior to being hospitalized. In addition, over 180,000 Americans die each year from hospital accidents, errors and infections, according to Leapfrog.

Safety score

So that patients and their families can feel better and more educated on a particular hospital, Leapfrog has put together the Hospital Safety Score website.

Visitors can look up hospital scores for free, and read information on how to keep themselves and family members safe. Visitors can also access additional information from Leapfrog's sister site, on how to ensure safety in any hospital across the U.S.

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