Saint Michael's Medical Center and Newark Beth Israel Medical Center received As for patient safety from the Leapfrog Group while University Hospital maintained a D for the Spring 2020.

An "A" grade recognizes a hospital's efforts to protect patients from harm and meet the highest safety standards in the country, according to Leapfrog, an independent national watchdog organization that assesses how well hospitals prevent medical errors and other harms to patients.

“As the Nation copes with a challenging pandemic, our gratitude extends to hospital leadership and health care workers everywhere for their tremendous dedication,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group.

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Leapfrog assigns a letter grade to all general hospitals across the country every six months based on healthcare quality and safety. The two Newark hospitals were among 30 in New Jersey that received an A from Leapfrog.

The only other hospital in Essex County to earn an A was Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, which received its 17 A in a row. Clara Maas Medical Center in Belleville and Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center both earned Bs and East Orange Hospital garnered a D. 

While Newark's hospitals continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, the Leapfrog awards were a bit of positive news, at least for those with good grades.

For Saint Michael's, it is the fourth period in a row that it earned an A from Leapfrog. The hospital has made a remarkable turnaround since it was purchased by Prime Healthcare in 2016, when Leapfrog gave it an F.

“While this viral pandemic has challenged our hospital in many ways and forced us to adopt new procedures and routines, the one constant that remains is patient safety,” said Dr. Claudia Komer, the chief medical officer of Saint Michael’s. “Leapfrog’s recognition of Saint Michael’s is a testament to the commitment of our employees, our medical staff and our leadership to patient safety.”

Newark Beth Israel earned an A for the last three periods. Leapfrog gave the hospital a B in the Spring of 2018.

University Hospital has earned a D for the last three periods after scoring an F in the Spring of 2018. The publicly owned hospital has struggled with financial issues and infection control. Last May, Governor Phil Murphy named State Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal sa the new president and CEO of the hospital.

Leapfrog grades often take a year or more to catch up with positive changes implemented at the hospital. University Hospital did not issue a statement and nobody from the hospital returned calls seeking comment.

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