Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Saint Michael's Medical Center both earned As in the latest Leapfrog Group patient safety report card for the second consecutive period, while University Hospital maintained a D.

The three Newark hospitals were among more than 2,600 hospitals across the nation graded by Leapfrog Group, which assigns an A, B, C, D or F Hospital Safety Grade to hospitals based on their performance in preventing accidents, injuries and errors to patients.

Two other Essex County Hospitals earned As - Clara Maas Medical Center in Belleville and Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston - while East Orange Hospital and Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair earned Ds.

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“To be recognized nationally as an ‘A’ hospital is an accomplishment the whole community should take pride in,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “Hospitals that earn an ‘A’ grade are making it a priority to protect patients from preventable medical harm and error. We congratulate hospital leaders, board members, staff, volunteers and clinicians who work so hard to earn this A.”

Both Beth Israel and Saint Michael's earned As for the first time in the fall 2018 report card. Beth Israel had a B in the Spring of 2018 and Cs during 2017 and 2016.

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center President and CEO Darrell Terry, Sr. said the hospital began an overhaul of safety initiatives in 2017 with the consulting firm Healthcare Performance Improvement. The hospital's team is now using a new Safety Together Initiative that aims to eventually have zero harm events. 

"Over the years, our consistent focus on safety and quality has supported many of our incredible clinical milestones such as reaching 1,000 heart transplants performed, cutting our emergency department wait times in half, and recruiting renowned physicians from across the country to lead many of our key clinical service areas," Terry said. 

Saint Michael's rise to an A was more dramatic. In the Spring of 2016, Leapfrog gave the hospital an F. The score rose to a D in the Fall of 2016, then to a C in the Fall of 2017 and jumped from to an A in fall 2018.

At the time, the hospital had been just purchased out of bankruptcy protection by Prime Healthcare, a national healthcare system well-known for operating hospitals with some of the highest safety standards in the country.

Because of the precarious financial condition of Saint Michael’s prior to the sale to Prime Healthcare, the previous owners of Saint Michael’s stopped submitting surveys to Leapfrog Group, which resulted in the failing grade, said Saint Michael's CEO Robert Iannaccone.

“Earning an A for two consecutive periods from a reputable ratings organization like Leapfrog demonstrates just how committed we are to patient safety at Saint Michael’s,” Iannaccone said. “This award would not be possible without the full buy-in from our employees and medical staff, who deserve the credit for putting patient safety first.”

University Hospital received an F in the Spring of 2018, followed with two consecutive Ds. The hospital named a new president and CEO earlier this month after the governor appointed a monitor for the institution, prompted by poor fiscal ratings and failing grades from Leapfrog. 

"We are encouraged by improvements in key metrics that make up the cumulative grade but know that our efforts to improve must keep intensifying," said Lawrence Ramunno, chief medical officer at University Hospital. "As the hospital’s strategic plan is finalized and implemented, we are confident that the hospital will become a premier health care institution in New Jersey.”

Essex County Hospitals City Leapfrog Grade
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center Newark A
Saint Michael's Medical Center Newark A
University Hospital  Newark D
Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center Montclair D
Saint Barnabas Medical Center Livingston A
East Orange Hospital  East Orange D
Clara Maas Medical Center Belleville A