Lehigh Valley hospitals earn top grades; pandemic-related infections spike

Cris Collingwood//May 2, 2023

Lehigh Valley hospitals earn top grades; pandemic-related infections spike

Cris Collingwood//May 2, 2023

Thirteen Lehigh Valley hospitals received the top rating from The Leapfrog Group in a report incorporating performance data from the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Lehigh Valley Business Coalition on Healthcare (LVBCH), said the Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit that grades hospital safety, this spring showed the average risk of harmful health care-associated infections spiked to a five-year high during the pandemic. 

Carl Seitz –

LVBCH, the regional leader for The Leapfrog Group in Pennsylvania, said Lehigh Valley hospitals that received an “A” Hospital Safety Grade are Geisinger’s Danville, Lewistown, and St. Luke’s campuses; Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Cedar Crest, Hazleton, and Muhlenberg campuses; and St. Luke’s University Health Network’s Allentown, Anderson, Bethlehem, Easton, Monroe, Sacred Heart, and Upper Bucks campuses. 

“The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade enables unprecedented transparency, driving improvements and empowering patients,” said Carl Seitz, LVBCH president. “We are proud to represent hospitals in our community who are prioritizing the safety of their patients. Our hospitals should continue to uphold high standards of patient care and safety to protect and save lives.”  

Hospitals earn an “A”,“B”, “C”, “D”, or “F” Hospital Safety Grade reflecting how well they protect patients from medical errors, accidents, injuries, and infections. These preventable errors kill an estimated 250,000 Americans every year and harm millions more, LVBCH said.  

The 2023 Hospital Safety Grades incorporate hospital performance during the height of the pandemic, 2020-2022, and it suggests the average risk of three of the most harmful healthcare-associated infections (HAIs)—including Methicillinresistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI)— spiked to a 5-year high in hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

In Pennsylvania, 127 hospitals were graded, and 59 earned an “A,” 33 earned a “B,” 32 earned a “C,” 3 earned a “D,” and none earned an “F.” Overall, Pennsylvania has 46.5% “A” Hospitals and ranks 4th in the nation, improving from 40.9% and 9th in fall 2022, LVBCH said.  

“Hospital safety is now more important than ever. With the increase in hospital infections during COVID-19, we know Pennsylvania hospitals are recommitting to patient safety, and we all need to reinforce the critical importance of the work,” said Amanda Greene, director of operations, LVBCH and Leapfrog Regional Leader. “The Hospital Safety Grades are an important tool that patients and families can use to make informed decisions to protect themselves and their loved ones when seeking care.”  

Leapfrog President and CEO Leah Binder said, “In light of the alarming findings on the increase in healthcare-associated infections, we need the full commitment of hospital leadership to ensure patient safety is a priority. The COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly strained hospitals and their resources, and we now have the data to show the damage it caused.” 

Despite the pandemic, Binder said, these 13 hospitals remained steadfast in their commitment to patient safety. 

The Leapfrog Group has a more than 10-year history of assigning letter grades to general hospitals throughout the U.S., based on a hospital’s ability to prevent medical errors and harm to patients.