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Dissecting Leapfrog: How Well Do Leapfrog Safe Practices Scores Correlate With Hospital Compare Ratings and Penalties, and How Much Do They Matter?

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Abstract

Background:

Voluntary Leapfrog Safe Practices Score (SPS) measures were among the first public reports of hospital performance. Recently, Medicare’s Hospital Compare website has reported compulsory measures. Leapfrog’s Hospital Safety Score (HSS) grades incorporate SPS and Medicare measures. We evaluate associations between Leapfrog SPS and Medicare measures, and the impact of SPS on HSS grades.

Methods:

Using 2013 hospital data, we linked Leapfrog HSS data with central line–associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) and catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) standardized infection ratios (SIRs), and Hospital Readmission and Hospital-Acquired Condition (HAC) Reduction Program penalties incorporating 2013 performance. For SPS-providing hospitals, we used linear and logistic regression models to predict CLABSI/CAUTI SIRs and penalties as a function of SPS. For hospitals not reporting SPS, we simulated change in HSS grades after imputing a range of SPS.

Results:

In total, 1089 hospitals reported SPS; >50% self-reported perfect scores for all but 1 measure. No SPS measures were associated with SIRs. One SPS (feedback) was associated with lower odds of HAC penalization (odds ratio, 0.86; 95% confidence interval, 0.76–0.97). Among hospitals not reporting SPS (N=1080), 98% and 54% saw grades decline by 1+ letters with first and 10th percentile SPS imputed, respectively; 49% and 54% saw grades improve by 1+ letter with median and highest SPS imputed.

Conclusions:

Voluntary Leapfrog SPS measures skew toward positive self-report and bear little association with compulsory Medicare outcomes and penalties. SPS significantly impacts HSS grades, particularly when lower SPS is reported. With increasing compulsory reporting, Leapfrog SPS seems limited for comparing hospital performance.

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