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Memphis Hospitals React To Their Hospital Safety Grades

On October 31, 2017, the Leapfrog Group released their latest Hospital Safety Grade for over 2,600 hospitals in the US, including 10 hospitals within a 50-mile radius of Memphis. Memphis Business Group on Health is the Regional Leader for The Leapfrog Group in western Tennessee, northern Mississippi and eastern Arkansas.

Each hospital is assigned a grade of A,B,C,D, or F reflecting their overall performance in keeping patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors.

The grades are based on performance measures from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Centers for Disease Control, and the American Hospital Association. Hospitals have access to the full methodology and are given an advance preview period. As Leapfrog points out “the grade is calculated by top patient safety experts, peer reviewed, fully transparent, and free to the public.”

In the Memphis-area, Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett was the only hospital to get an A. Even with this achievement, they didn’t sit on their laurels. As Chris Locke, Saint Francis-Bartlett CEO, put it on News Channel 3, “Although we are an A today, I tell our staff it doesn’t mean something bad can’t happen here…We have to stay on our toes." This is the attitude of an A hospital. Never relaxing; putting the patient first every minute of the day; using their A grade to recommit to patient safety.

Saint Francis-Bartlett

Methodist Germantown

Baptist Collierville

Baptist DeSoto

Methodist North

Methodist South

Methodist University

Saint Francis-Memphis

Baptist Memphis

Regional One











Source: Hospital Safety Grade, downloaded from on 11/28/17. Note: Hospitals not receiving a grade did not have sufficient volume to calculate performance. Pediatric and other specialty hospitals are not assigned a grade.

Click here to get the details on why these hospitals were assigned the grades they received. 

As you can see, other Memphis hospitals earned lower grades for safety, and they would be wise to take the same approach as Saint Francis-Bartlett: use their grade to push for progress. However, some hospitals tried to explain away their poor grades. Explanations included:

  • Not completing the Leapfrog Hospital Survey. Hospitals are not required to complete the survey and many who do not report received an A. That said, completing the survey is the right thing to do because it gives more information upon which to assign a grade. In addition, by completing the survey, hospitals can provide more recent information for several of the performance measures. And, the survey provides critical results on key conditions not covered in the Hospital Safety Grade, such as maternity care. Click here to get Leapfrog Hospital Survey results for the Memphis-area.
  • The data are old. Most of the data are from 2015 or 2016, the latest available. Some data provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are for 2013-2015, but is still the latest available. Also remember that by completing the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, hospitals can provide even more current data for several of the measures. The Hospital Safety Grade is updated every 6 months so that the most current available data is used to assign grades.
  • There are better proprietary, collaborative tools to measure and compare performance. These types of tools do serve a purpose in performance improvement. However, since a hospital’s results are not publicly released, they do not provide those of us that use and pay for care the information we need to make decisions or to hold hospitals accountable for the care they provide.

People in Memphis need, and deserve, to know this hospital safety data. More than 500 people die every day in the United States due to problems with safety in hospitals, like errors and infections. Memphis hospitals should be leading the way toward saving lives, not trying to explain away their poor grades. The humble approach that Saint Francis-Bartlett took in earning their A is a model for all of us on service to people who entrust their lives to a hospital.

Posted by Cristie Travis at 1:37 PM

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