Leapfrog Group to expand ratings to 5,600 surgery centers

The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization that grades nearly 2,000 U.S. hospitals, is expanding its safety and quality ratings to outpatient surgery centers. The group plans to survey 250 centers in 2019 and up to 5,600 in 2020.

"The vast majority of surgeries in the U.S. are performed in outpatient or ambulatory settings, but there are almost no independent data about the safety and quality of this care,” Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, said in a press release. " This leaves patients at risk without the information they need to select the best place for their care. We're confident that, given the opportunity, hospitals and ASCs (ambulatory surgery centers) will be transparent in voluntarily reporting their performance, just like the nearly 2,000 hospitals that report on their inpatient quality today."

Binder told Kaiser Health News an investigation published in March by KHN and USA Today underscored the need for unbiased information about ASCs and hospital outpatient surgery departments. According to that report, more than 260 patients died after receiving care at centers that lacked the proper lifesaving equipment.

“People are going in for surgery, and our federal government doesn’t think it’s important to tell us how it’s going,” Binder said. “Maybe that was OK 30 years ago, but now it’s not OK.”

Ty Tippets, an administrator at St. George Surgical Center in Utah, applauded Leapfrog’s new announcement.

“Anytime [data] is gathered and provided in a transparent, easily accessed forum—it helps empower patients,” Tippets told KHN.

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