Report Shows Arkansas Saw Largest Increase in Top Hospitals

F.J. Thomas

Sarasota, FL ( – Delaware; Washington, D.C.; and North Dakota have no top hospitals, according to the most recent Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade report released last month.

Every year, independent watchdog organization the Leapfrog group issues a national quality ranking of hospitals, with this year being the largest review of 2,901 facilities. The group assigns a hospital classification of Children’s, Rural, General, and Teaching over 500 beds and under 500 beds. Then each hospital is assigned a letter grade based on prevention measures of how well they avoid serious or fatal medical errors, accidents, and infections. In order to be considered a top ranking hospital, facilities must follow a special list of requirements.

According to Leapfrog’s ranking criteria, computerized ordering systems can reduce adverse drug events by as much as 88 percent. To be considered as a best ranking hospital, the facility must have an 85 percent utilization rate for electronic medication orders.

Another requirement is an ICU that is staffed by board certified critical care physicians based on studies showing fewer adverse outcomes. Not only are the providers required to be on site during daytime hours, but are required to return pages 95 percent of the time, and coordinate care with a certified physician for an ICU patient within 5 minutes. Facilities without an ICU department were not held to this requirement.

“Never Events” is a list of 29 serious events issued by the The National Quality Forum. These events are seen as extremely rare with great harm to the patient, and are events that should happen to a patient. An example would be performing surgery on an incorrect body part. In creation of the ranking, Leapfrog developed a list of 9 standard protocols for hospitals to adopt if a Never Event occurs. The standards include apologizing to patients and family, waive cost of treatment and follow up care, report the event to required agencies, protocol for support of the caregivers, investigation and analysis of root cause, development of measures to avoid a reoccurrence, notification to patients of actions taken, availability of the policy, and annual review of associated protocols.

Overall, 32 percent of hospitals received an “A” Grade. Virginia ranked number one for the states with the highest percentage of A Hospitals at 56.2 percent, up 6.2 percent from the previous year. North Carolina ranked second at 55.1 percent, up from 47.0 percent last year. Idaho ranked third at 53.9 percent, which was a decrease from 58.3 percent the previous year.

North Dakota ranked last with zero top ranking hospitals, which was unchanged from the previous year. Delaware and Washington, DC tied for 49th, also with zero top ranking hospitals. However, Delaware ranked 29th the previous year at 28.6 percent. Washington, DC garnered spot 41 with 16.7 percent last year. Both states saw the highest decrease in previous year percentage. Vermont had the third highest drop in percentage of top hospitals, going from 33.3 percent in 2020 to 16.7 percent this year. Wyoming saw a similar reduction going from 28.6 percent last year to 12.5 percent this year.

Arkansas saw the largest improvement, going from 10.3 percent last year to 29.7 percent this year. New Hampshire saw a drastic improvement as well, going from 15.4 percent last year to 30.8 percent this year.