HEALTH

New Jersey Hospitals Get Their Report Cards

By Michelle Sartor

A non-profit national organization that compares hospitals has released its first Hospital Safety Score results for more than 2,600 hospitals. The Leapfrog Group used the New York City restaurant grading system of letter grades from A to F as a model to rate hospitals’ safety. In New Jersey, the majority of hospitals received grades of A and B.

The Leapfrog Group’s goal is to give people a way to easily gather information about hospitals before choosing where to get treated. “There wasn’t anything out there in the marketplace that made it easy for consumers to determine the safety of their local hospital,” Leapfrog Group Communications Manager Erica Newman explained. “There’s a lot of different hospital ratings out there — Consumer Reports, U.S. News and World Reports, Thomson Reuters — but none of them look at a hospital’s safety.”

Safety in the hospital can make a big difference, Newman explained. “Even if you’re going to a hospital with the best surgeon in the world and he’s doing a top rate procedure on you, if the hospital isn’t equipped to make sure that you recover safely and don’t get an infection during recovery, then the whole surgery was futile,” she said. “So we wanted to put this in a format that was easy for consumers to use.”

A panel of nine top patient safety experts from institutions across the country deliberated over what makes a safe hospital and what publicly available data can be used to determine that, Newman said. They settled on 26 weighted measures, and collected the majority of the data from Medicare.

The Leapfrog Group was not able to rate every hospital in the U.S. “Some hospitals — children’s hospitals and other specialty hospitals — are exempted from reporting in the same way to Medicare so we could not give those hospitals a grade, but were able to assign a grade to over 2,600 hospitals,” Newman said.

Twenty-three New Jersey hospitals received an A, 31 got a B and 15 got a C. Two hospitals — Hoboken University Medical Center and Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County — received “score pending” status. Newman explained that The Leapfrog Group didn’t want to hand out Ds or Fs in the first edition of the safety score results.

“Any hospital that was below a C has received score pending. We want to give these hospitals time to improve before releasing their grade,” Newman said. “In November, we’re planning to reissue the safety score with new data, with the most recently available data we’ll have at that time. At that time, we will be releasing the Ds and Fs, but we hope that some of these hospitals will have improved by then.”

The goal of the Hospital Safety Survey is to improve hospital safety, not point fingers Newman said. “We would love to see all hospitals get an A and we hope by recognizing the hospitals who are doing well and getting consumers to use a score and talk to their doctor and ask their hospitals why they didn’t get an A, that will help catalyze improvements and result in safer hospitals,” she said.

The Leapfrog Group issues an annual hospital survey that about 1,200 hospitals voluntarily complete, Newman explained. The organization included data collected in the survey to come up with the safety score.

“For hospitals that we did not have that data for, the other weights were adjusted so it was just treated as an N/A and other measures were weighted more heavily to make up for that,” Newman explained. She said the process was still fair for the non-participating hospitals. “We had about 150 hospitals who had never completed the Leapfrog survey that still got an A,” she said.

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services issues its own report rating hospital performance, which can be found on the department’s website. Department of Health Director of Communications Donna Leusner said The Leapfrog Group ratings offer another way for New Jerseyans to research hospitals.

“The Leapfrog report on hospital safety is another tool consumers can use and include in their discussions with their health care professionals. Since the Department released its first Hospital Performance Report in 2004, we have seen steady improvement in the quality of care provided to New Jersey residents,” Leusner said. “We know that transparency raises the bar on performance. The hospital safety scores also serve as a benchmark for hospitals to assess their performance in patient safety and examine ways to improve.”

For a full list of hospital ratings from The Leapfrog Group, visit the Hospital Safety Score website.

NEW JERSEY HOSPITAL RANKINGS:

 

Hospital City Score
Atlanticare Regional Medical Center Atlantic City B
Bayonne Medical Center Bayonne C
Bayshore Community Hospital Holmdel A
Cape Regional Medical Center Cape May A
Capital Health Mercer Campus Trenton C
Capital Health Regional Medical Center Trenton B
CentraState Healthcare System Freehold C
Chilton Memorial Hospital Pompton Plains C
Christ Hospital Jersey City B
Clara Maass Medical Center Belleville A
Community Medical Center of Toms River Toms River A
Cooper Health System Camden C
East Orange General Hospital East Orange B
Englewood Hospital and Medical Center Englewood A
Hackensack University Medical Center Hackensack A
Hackettstown Regional Medical Center Hackettstown C
Hoboken University Medical Center Hoboken SCORE PENDING
Holy Name Medical Center Teaneck B
Hunterdon Medical Center Flemington A
Jersey Shore University Medical Center Neptune B
JFK Medical Center Edison A
Kennedy Memorial Hospital UMC Stratford Stratford B
Kennedy Memorial Hospital UMC Washington Township Edison B
Kennedy Memorial Hospitals University Medical Center Cherry Hill B
Kimball Medical Center Lakewood B
LibertyHealth-Jersey City Medical Center Jersey City A
LibertyHealth-Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center Secaucus C
Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County Willingboro SCORE PENDING
Memorial Hospital of Salem County Salem B
Monmouth Medical Center Long Branch A
Morristown Memorial Hospital Morristown A
Mountainside Hospital Montclair C
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center Newark A
Newton Medical Center Newton A
Ocean Medical Center Brick B
Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center Camden C
Overlook Medical Center Summit B
Palisades Medical Center North Bergen B
Raritan Bay Medical Center Perth Amboy B
Raritan Bay Medical Center of Old Bridge Old Bridge B
Riverview Medical Center Red Bank A
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital New Brunswick A
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton Hamilton B
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Rahway Rahway A
Shore Memorial Hospital Somers Point A
Somerset Medical Center Somerville A
South Jersey Healthcare – Elmer Hospital Elmer B
South Jersey Healthcare Regional Medical Center Vineland C
Southern Ocean County Hospital Manahawkin C
St. Barnabas Health Care System Livingston A
St. Clare’s Hospital of Denville Denville A
St. Clare’s Hospital of Dover Dover A
St. Francis Medical Center of Trenton Trenton B
St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center Paterson Campus Paterson C
St. Mary’s Hospital of Passaic Passaic C
St. Michael’s Medical Center Newark B
St. Peter’s University Hospital New Brunswick B
Trinitas Regional Medical Center Elizabeth B
Underwood-Memorial Hospital Woodbury C
University Medical Center at Princeton Princeton A
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Newark C
Valley Hospital of Ridgewood Ridgewood A
Virtua Memorial Hospital Burlington County Mount Holly B
Virtua West Jersey Hospital Berlin Berlin B
Virtua West Jersey Hospital Marlton Marlton B
Virtua West Jersey Hospital Voorhees Voorhees B
Warren Hospital Phillipsburg B