Newark, NJ — For the third time in a row, Saint Michael's Medical Center and Newark Beth Israel Medical Center are the only two hospitals in Newark to earn an A in the latest Leapfrog report card on patient safety, while University Hospital remained stuck with a D.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is a bi-annual grading assigning letter grades to general acute-care hospitals throughout the United States, grading hospitals entirely on patient safety—preventable errors, accidents, injuries and infections. The report card was first issued in the spring of 2012.

The only other hospital in Essex County to earn an A from Leapfrog in the Fall 2019 report card was Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston. Clara Mass Medical Center in Belleville earned a B, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair earned a C and East Orange Hospital earned a D.

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Developed under the guidance of a national Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,600 U.S. acute-care hospitals twice per year. The Hospital Safety Grade’s methodology is peer-reviewed and fully transparent, and the results are free to the public.

Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, said hospitals that earn As show leadership in protecting patients from medical harm and error.

"It takes genuine commitment at every level — from clinicians to administrators to the board of directors — and we congratulate the teams who have worked so hard to earn this A," Binder said.

Saint Michael's received its third A in a row after receiving an F in the spring of 2016, when the hospital was purchased out of bankruptcy by Prime Healthcare. Since then, the hospital's grade has improved from a D in the fall of 2016 to a C in the fall of 2017.

“Saint Michael’s is committed to ensuring our patients receive the highest quality and safest care available,” said Saint Michael’s CEO Robert Iannaccone, “We are extremely proud to receive national recognition for our efforts. Every member of our staff deserves credit for making patient safety and quality a top priority.”

Like Saint Michael's, Newark Beth Israel also received its third straight A from Leapfrog. The hospital had received Cs in 2016 and 17, and was awarded a B in the spring of 2018.

"Newark Beth Israel Medical Center is proud to receive its third consecutive A safety score from the Leapfrog Group. It is a validation of our steadfast commitment to delivering excellent patient care and maintaining the highest quality standards for our patients, visitors and employees,” said Darrell K. Terry, Sr., president and CEO of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey.

University Hospital has received straight Ds since the fall of 2016 with the exception of an F in the spring of 2018. The state-run hospital has struggled financially and clinically for several years. In May, Shereef Elnahal, the former state Health Commissioner in the administration of Gov. Phil Murphy, was selected by the hospital's board of trustees to head University.

"University Hospital has an obligation to provide high quality, safe, and reliable care for the Newark community and every patient that we treat," said Raymond Brandes, vice president of Public Affairs, Population Health & Strategic Planning.

"We have made meaningful progress over the last year," Brandes said. "In order to accelerate that progress, our new CEO is implementing a proven, organization-wide shared governance model that has rapidly improved quality in similar institutions. It does take time for progress to be reflected in Leapfrog given time lags in reported data, but our commitment is steadfast.”

Leapfrog's Hospital Safety Grades for Fall 2019

Hospital City Grade
Saint Michael's Medical Center Newark A
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center Newark A
University Hospital  Newark D
East Orange Hospital East Orange D
Clara Maas Medical Center Belleville B
Mountainside Medical Center Montclair C
Saint Barnabas Medical Center Livingston A

TAPinto Newark reporter M.E. Cagnassola contributed to this report.