Newswise — Patients depend on their hospital to keep them safe, and few hospitals have been rated safe as dependably as Rush University Medical Center, which has received its ninth consecutive "A" grade for safety from the Leapfrog Group. The spring 2016 grades were announced on April 25.

The Medical Center is one of only 98 hospitals in the country to receive an A grade, the highest possible, each time the Leapfrog Group has rated hospitals since launching the organization’s Hospital Safety Score in June 2012. These consistently safe institutions make up just 3.8 percent of the 2,571 hospitals in the United States that Leapfrog evaluated for the latest round of the organization's twice-yearly grading.

Leapfrog used 28 measures of publicly available hospital data to assign scores of A, B, C, D or F. The score represents each hospital’s overall performance in keeping patients safe from preventable medical errors, accidents, injuries and infections while they are in the hospital.

Adding Patient Experience to the Picture

For the first time, Leapfrog’s grading also incorporated measures of patient experience that contribute to improved patient safety outcomes. Taken from results of patient surveys, these measures include patients’ communication with their doctors and nurses, communications about medicine and hospital discharge, and the responsiveness of hospital staff. The score also included additional healthcare associated infection measures of MRSA Bacteremia and C.difficile infections for the first time.

“We’ve had straight As from the beginning, thanks to the efforts of everyone at the organization and our continued vigilance in practices such as hand hygiene,” says Richa Gupta, MBBS, MHSA, the Medical Center’s chief quality officer. “We’ve continued to set a high bar for safety and the patient experience at Rush.”

A-Level Safety Saves Lives

An analysis conducted for Leapfrog found that an estimated 206,021 avoidable deaths occur in hospitals in the United States each year, and that an estimated 33,439 lives could be saved annually if all hospitals performed as well as A-rated hospitals such as Rush University Medical Center. Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality provided the analysis, which also found that the risk of avoidable death was 9 percent higher in B hospitals than A hospitals, and rose to 35 percent higher in C hospitals and 50 percent higher in D and F hospitals.

“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, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. that promotes health care safety and quality improvement. “The Hospital Safety Score alerts consumers to the dangers.”

The Leapfrog Group compiles the Hospital Safety Score under the guidance of the nation’s leading experts on patient safety in order to provide the public with information that people can use to protect themselves and their families. A full analysis of the data and methodology used is available on the Hospital Safety Score website.

To see Rush’s scores as they compare nationally and locally, and to find safety tips for patients and their loved ones, visit the Hospital Safety Score website.