Leapfrog grades 23 Long Island hospitals

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(Photo courtesy of NYU Winthrop)

NYU Winthrop Hospital and St. Francis Hospital have been given good marks for safety by Leapfrog, a nonprofit organization.

Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the nation. Leapfrog, which was  founded by employers and healthcare providers, wants to minimize those deaths through its annual safety grading of hospitals across the nation.

Of the 23 Long Island hospitals graded by Leapfrog in 2017, only one, John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson, received an A. None received an F.

NYU Winthrop in Mineola and St. Francis in Roslyn were among seven Long Island hospitals that received a B. The majority of hospitals, including Long Island Jewish Medical Center and North Shore University Hospital, received C’s, which is standard across the nation, according to Erica Mobley, a Leapfrog representative.

Leapfrog determines the grades based on two main criteria: policies and procedures in place to prevent errors, and rates of errors.

The size of a hospital or number of critical cases a hospital sees does not affect Leapfrog’s grading, according to Mobley.

Leapfrog does not look at rates of readmission, which might have more to do with individual cases than the care given. Rather, Leapfrog assesses errors based on mistakes that should not happen regardless of how routine or unusual a procedure is – such as foreign objects being left inside patients.

The grades give patients more autonomy, according to Mobley.  A patient experiencing a medical emergency should go to the closest hospital. But if the treatment can be planned in advance, such as a birth or a surgery, Leapfrog’s safety grades are one tool that can help keep patients safe.

In addition to the letter grade, patients can explore Leapfrog’s website for information on  why a hospital received a grade. Mobley said this transparency helps guide patients to ask informed questions.

Even if there are only poorly graded hospitals in a area,  patients can take steps to ensure their safety. Mobley said patients should bring along a family member or friend as an advocate, and should always ensure that visitors wash their hands.

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