A national report card on hospital patient safety has ranked North Carolina in third place among hospitals in the U.S. that had mostly “A” ratings when it comes to patient safety, up from sixth place this past spring. 

The Leapfrog Group, an independent nonprofit organization that measures the safety and quality of healthcare across the country, released its Fall 2023 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade that ranked 88 of North Carolina’s hospitals with mostly “A” grades. 

“This latest ranking of North Carolina hospitals’ performance on evidence-based measures of patient safety supports our state’s attractiveness as a destination for high quality, safe care,” a spokesperson for the North Carolina Healthcare Association (NCHA) said in an emailed statement to Carolina Journal.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Forbes ranked the state the 3rd worst state for healthcare and the worst for costs last month, and in August, WalletHub ranked the state 42nd for healthcare in the U.S.

The organization uses up to 30 national performance measures from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, and information from other supplemental data sources to measure a hospital’s record of prevention of medical errors, infections, and injuries to arrive at the single letter grade that measures a hospital’s overall performance.

According to Leapfrog:

  • Upwards of 200,000 people die every year from hospital errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.
  • Every year, 1 out of every 31 patients develops an infection while in the hospital.
  • A Medicare patient has a 1 in 4 chance of experiencing injury, harm, or death when admitted to a hospital.
  • More than 500 people die each day because of preventable hospital errors.

The safety grades are assigned to nearly 3,000 general acute-care hospitals nationwide twice annually. 

Among the 42 hospitals that scored A’s in North Carolina include: Atrium Health (Charlotte Region) – Mercy, Cabarrus, Pineville, Health Union; Cone Health – Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital, Greensboro, Duke Raleigh Hospital, Duke Regional Hospital, and Duke University Hospital, Durham, Novant Health System Hospitals including Forsyth and Medical Park, Winston-Salem, Kernersville, in the Charlotte Area – Huntersville, Matthews Medical Center, Mint Hill, Presbyterian and Rowan, Rex Hospital, Raleigh, WakeMed Cary and WakeMed North (Raleigh) and WakeMed Raleigh.

Eighteen with B’s include Atrium Health – University City, Atrium Stanly, Wake Forest Baptist, Wake Forest Baptist High Point Medical Center, Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center, Rex Holly Springs, and University of North Carolina Hospitals.

Twenty-six hospitals with C grades include Atrium Health – Cleveland, Kings Mountain, Lincoln, Wake Forest Baptist Health Wilkes Medical Center & Lexington Medical Center, and Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, Fayetteville. 

ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan, Ahoskie, and Granville Medical Center, Oxford, were the two hospitals that had a D grade.