Hospital administrators and staff wait with keen interest to see what letter grade their facilities receive from the patient advocacy nonprofit Leapfrog Group. Top marks lead to robust PR campaigns, and landing at the other end of the grading spectrum is sure to mean a flurry of bad press.
Leapfrog Group argues that the transparency represented by their regularly assigned Hospital Safety Grades naturally leads to improvements across the healthcare field. But one hospital has opted to push back rather than try to bolster their efforts in time for the next report card.
Following the latest set of patient safety grades, issued in late October, Chicago healthcare facility Saint Anthony Hospital filed a lawsuit against Leapfrog Group. They say the nonprofit organization willfully employed faulty information in the assessment, according to a report by the Cook County Record. The legal filing calls on Leapfrog to retract the C letter grade assigned to Saint Anthony Hospital.
Saint Anthony Hospital received an A from Leapfrog in each of the two previous Hospital Safety Grades reports. According to the suit, the hospital inquired about the grade reduction in advance of publication and was told the mark stemmed from how often the facility used electronic tools for prescribing medication. Leapfrog posits that electronic prescriptions reduce errors.
Saint Anthony Hospital maintains they prescribe medication electronically at least 95 percent of the time, well above the threshold that caused Leapfrog to reduce their grade. According to the lawsuit, the hospital repeatedly contacted Leapfrog in the month preceding publication of the new grades report, providing corrected information.
“Saint Anthony lacks an adequate remedy at law because once the grade is published, Saint Anthony cannot undue the effect to its reputation,” the legal filing states. “Saint Anthony brings this motion to seek the narrowest relief possible — temporarily stop Leapfrog from publishing the false statements regarding Saint Anthony and Saint Anthony’s inaccurate Hospital Safety Grade of a ‘C.’”
In addition to preventing Leapfrog from publishing the C grade, Saint Anthony is asking the organization to pay attorney fees and court costs.