The latest Hospital Safety Scores released by the not-for-profit watchdog Leapfrog Group show less than 25 percent of general, acute-care hospitals in Florida earned an A.
Last year, nearly half earned As.
Over the past four years, the Leapfrog Group has issued grades, which are determined largely by Medicare data. The group calculates the grades twice a year on using data on errors, injuries, accidents and infections, and posts the results in a searchable database.
Out of the 168 Florida hospitals they graded, 41 got an A, down from 77 out of 165 hospitals last year.
Several hospitals got Cs and Ds, but once again, no Florida hospitals failed.
Erica Mobley, direct of communications at Leapfrog Group, said two new measures on MRSA and C. Diff infection rates and hospital communication could have affected the scores.
"It also could be that in calculating the scores, we compare hospitals to each other," Mobley said. "So perhaps it's not necessarily that all of these hospitals got worse, but that they didn't get better with the same speed and acceleration with what other hospitals improved."
Fourteen Florida hospitals earned a "D" grade for spring 2016, including two in the Tampa Bay area. The hospitals earning a D rating from Leapfrog are:
- Jackson North Medical Center, North Miami Beach
- Plantation General Hospital
- Broward Health Coral Springs
- Jackson South Community Hospital, Miami
- St. Cloud Regional Medical Center
- Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center, Davenport
- UF Health Jacksonville
- Bayfront Health Punta Gorda
- Bayfront Health Port Charlotte
- Munroe Regional Medical Center, Ocala
- Venice Regional Bayfront Health
- Tampa General Hospital
- Bayfront Health St. Petersburg
- Desoto Memorial Hospital, Arcadia
The Leapfrog ratings compiles publicly available data on patient safety and surveys submitted by hospitals to determine its score. But it is just one of many scorecards created by non-profit and for-profit groups to help consumers rate a hospital's performance.
Each scorecard uses its own criteria to determine success, and explains why some hospitals are critical of Leapfrog, and point to stronger scores in other reports.
Leapfrog says it focuses its report on recent data, which shows hospital errors kill about 206,021 people across the country each year.
Of the 206,021 avoidable deaths occurring in all hospitals, 162,117 occur in B, C, D, and F hospitals. The analysis concluded an estimated 33,439 lives could be saved each year if all hospitals had the same performance as those receiving an A.
“It is time for every hospital in America to put patient safety at the top of their priority list, because tens of thousands of lives are stake,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group.
The group has graded hospitals since spring 2012.
There are eight Florida hospitals that have earned an "A" each time Leapfrog graded them:
- Baptist Health South Florida, Doctors Hospital in Coral Gables
- Baptist Health South Florida, Homestead Hospital
- Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center, Daytona Beach
- Gulf Breeze Hospital
- Mayo Clinic Hospital Jacksonville
- Memorial Hospital Miramar
- Parrish Medical Center, Titusville
- West Boca Medical Center, Boca Raton
Compared to other states, Florida is ranked 34th based on the percentage of “A” hospitals compared to the total number of hospitals that operate in the state.
Maryland is not ranked because hospitals are not required to publicly report their hospital safety data.
"Florida this time around ranked 34th out of 50 states and we saw many, many fewer hospitals in Florida this time receive an A," Mobley said. "Back in the fall, Florida was third in the state ranking."
Mobley said Tampa General Hospital and Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, which both got "D" scores this spring, ranked in the bottom 5 percent of hospitals nationally that received a score.
Neither hospital could be reached for comment.