The Fall 2022 Hospital Safety Grades are out, and overall New Jersey bested its performance from the spring when it was ranked 12th – down from No. 9 in the prior assessment – coming in at No. 6 in the U.S.
The Leapfrog Group announced its fall grades Nov. 16. The Garden State’s placement translates to 47.1% of N.J.’s participating 70 hospitals receiving A marks.
That beats the national tally, which saw 30% of hospitals receive an A, and is an improvement over New Jersey’s spring performance when 43.5% of hospitals received A grades.
Report card: NJ
A – 33 hospitals or 47%
B – 20 hospitals or 29%
C – 14 hospitals or 20%
D – 3 hospitals or 4%
F – 0 hospitals
The independent system assigns a letter grade – A through F – to 3,000 general hospitals nationwide based on how well they protect patients from preventable errors, injuries, accidents and infections.
Within the state, 76% of hospitals received an A or B grade, up 9% from the Spring 2022 Hospital Safety Grades. And, according to the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, which drives the assessment here, New Jersey is the only state that has more than 95% hospital participation – actually 98.6% – in the 2022 survey as of Oct. 31. NJHCQI said just one hospital has not submitted a survey.
Ups and downs
While no hospitals in the Garden State received an F grade, three did earn Ds: CareWell Health Medical Center (formerly East Orange General Hospital); St. Joseph’s University Medical Center; and St. Joseph’s Wayne Medical Center — each of which recorded the same grades in the spring assessment.
More than a dozen hospitals did improve their performance from the earlier 2022 report, including Holy Name Medical Center, a prior D that improved to a C in the fall grades.
The 13 hospitals showing improvement from their spring to fall grades were:
- Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center – B to A
- Holy Name Medical Center – D to C
- Cooper University Hospital – C to B
- Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital – C to B
- Virtua Memorial Hospital dba Virtua Mt. Holly Hospital – C to B
- Atlanticare Regional Medical Center – City Campus – C to B
- Inspira Medical Center Elmer – B to A
- Salem Medical Center – C to B
- Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton – B to A
- Hackettstown Regional Medical Center – C to B
- Virtua Marlton Hospital – B to A
- Hudson Regional Hospital – B to A
- Virtua Willingboro Hospital – C to B
Just four hospitals dropped a grade:
- Newton Medical Center – A to B
- Virtua Voorhees Hospital – A to B
- Hackensack Meridian Ocean University Medical Center – A to B
- Saint Clare’s Hospital of Dover – B to C
A total 22 hospitals have earned straight As since the Hospital Safety Grade launched a decade ago; however, none from New Jersey hold the distinction.
A handful of Garden State hospitals have aced the assessment since 2019, though: Morristown Medical Center, Chilton Medical Center, Jefferson Cherry Hill Hospital, Saint Clare’s Hospital of Denville, St. Luke’s Warren Campus, Monmouth Medical Center and Jefferson Stratford Hospital.
“During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the data showed a distressing nationwide decline in patient safety measures as staffing and other challenges stressed hospitals and health care systems, including hospitals in New Jersey,” said Adelisa Perez-Hudgins, director of quality for the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, in a statement. “In New Jersey, in this half of the year, we see improvements in the data. We are not back to pre-pandemic quality, but we are heading in the right direction.”
Getting better all the time
Over the past 10 years of Safety Grades, significant improvement has been achieved in certain “never events” – according to The Leapfrog Group, medical events that should never happen – including 25% decreases in incidents of falls and trauma and incidents of objects unintentionally left in a body after surgery.
The fall release marks the 10th anniversary of the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade. The past decade of data indicate that patient safety has improved. Over that time, an estimated more than 16,000 lives were saved due to improved performance across just five of The Leapfrog Group’s outcome measures.
The Safety Grades employ 22 touchpoints from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, in addition to information from other supplemental data sources.
“Never in history have we seen across-the-board improvement in patient safety until this last decade, coinciding with the history of the Hospital Safety Grade,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “We salute hospitals for this milestone and encourage them to accelerate their hard work saving patient lives. For a long time, the health care community tried to improve safety, but progress stalled. The big difference over this decade is that for the first time, we publicly reported each hospital’s record on patient safety, and that galvanized the kind of change we all hoped for. It’s not enough change, but we are on the right track.”
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