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Chicago Hospital Sues Leapfrog for Defamation Over Low Patient Safety Grade

Saint Anthony Hospital of Chicago claims the ratings group incorrectly assessed the hospital, which lowered its patient safety grade from an A to a C.

Published: November 13, 2017

GRADING SCALE Saint Anthony Hospital disagrees with the "C" grade in patient safety Leapfrog issued it.

A Chicago hospital was so upset that its patient safety grade dropped from an A to a C that it sued the ratings group that issued the grade for defamation, alleging that Leapfrog used inaccurate information when lowering the hospital's score in its patient safety grades.

Saint Anthony filed the suit on Oct. 30, a day before Leapfrog released the fall grades, asking the group not to post the "false" grade, according to the complaint.

Saint Anthony confronted Leapfrog when it learned of the impending C grade. Leapfrog said the hospital lost points because it only electronically prescribes medications between 50% and 74% of the time. Saint Anthony disagreed, alleging that it uses electronic prescribing at least 95% of the time and that it provided corroborating data to Leapfrog. The hospital claims it asked Leapfrog to adjust its safety grade, but never received an assurance that the group would change the grade before the fall ratings were released.

Leapfrog issues hospitals spring and fall grades on 27 measures of hospital safety, including hand hygiene, bedsores and falls. Electronic prescribing accounts for about 14% percent of a hospital's final rating, according to the complaint.

Saint Anthony says the drop in grade would cause its hospital to take a heavy hit. "Saint Anthony competes with other hospitals in the immediate area, including one down the street," states the complaint. "One of the most important ways Saint Anthony recently has been able to distinguish itself is the high safety grades it receives from Leapfrog." The hospital is insistent that the grade be changed because of the negative impact a false low grade will have on its reputation.

Saint Anthony is preparing a statement, says its lawyer. Leapfrog did not respond to a request for comment.

Brielle Gregory

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