Massachusetts Boasts Safest Hospitals; Does Your State Measure Up?

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A nonprofit group has released the first-ever Hospital Safety Score, which grades hospitals from across the country, showing Massachusetts has the safest hospitals.

The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization focused on transparency and safety in hospitals, used the Hospital Safety Score to evaluate more than 2,600 hospitals in the U.S.

Each hospital received a grade of A, B, C, D or F based on patient injuries, medical and medication errors, and infections.

The Leapfrog Group called deaths due to hospital error a "silent epidemic."

"Approximately 400 people die every day because of hospital errors - the equivalent of a jet crashing every day and killing all aboard," the group said in a press release. "According to recent studies, one in four Medicare patients will leave a hospital with a potentially fatal issue they didn't have prior to hospitalization. On average, one medication error per day occurs for each hospitalized patient, and more than 180,000 Americans die every year from hospital accidents, errors, and infections."

These numbers prompted the group to investigate hospital errors in the hopes that patients would look at ratings before choosing a hospital.

The results: of the 2,652 general hospitals issued a Hospital Safety Score, 729 earned an "A," 679 earned a "B," and 1,243 earned a "C" or below, according to the group.

The financial news organization 24/7 Wall St. analyzed the ratings and put together a list of the 10 states with the safest hospitals, using the percentage of hospitals in each state that were given an "A" grade, the number of hospitals with an "A," life expectancy at birth, and their cancer rates per 100,000 people.

Massachusetts came out on top, with 76 percent of hospitals (a total of 47) given an "A."

Maine was next on the list, with 17 hospitals, or 74 percent, receiving an "A."

Other states on the top-10 list include Vermont, Illinois, Tennessee, Virginia, Michigan, California, Delaware, and Minnesota.

To see how your area hospitals were graded, visit the Hospital Safety Score website.