St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center in Flower Hill

St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center in Flower Hill Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Long Island has seven of the state’s 19 hospitals with “A” ratings from a nonprofit that focuses on hospital safety, a report released early Wednesday found.

One of those seven, St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center in Flower Hill, earned the most As of any New York hospital in the 10 years in which the nonprofit, Washington, D.C.-based Leapfrog, has released ratings.

The other six hospitals with A ratings are Glen Cove Hospital, Huntington Hospital, Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson, North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, NYU Langone Hospital — Long Island Hospital in Mineola and Syosset Hospital.

Dr. Charles Lucore, president of St. Francis, called the streak of A ratings “a tribute to our team.”


  • Seven Long Island hospitals received A ratings in a new report from Leapfrog, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that focuses on hospital safety. Only 19 of 150 New York hospitals that were rated got As.

  • This is the tenth year of Leapfrog ratings. St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center in Flower Hill has received more A grades than any other hospital in the state.
  • Leapfrog focuses on hospitals’ ability to protect patients from preventable accidents, errors, injuries and infections. It bases the ratings on its own survey as well as federal data.

“Every day we review what’s necessary to act upon the good catches and also the areas for improvement,” he said. “No matter how many As you have and how well you are recognized, there’s always opportunity for improvement.”

Leapfrog, which bases its twice-a-year ratings on data reported to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and on its own survey, focuses on hospitals’ ability to protect patients from preventable errors, accidents, injuries and infections. CMS also has a rating system, but it is based on a much higher number of criteria.

Five of the seven A hospitals on Long Island are affiliated with Northwell Health, which has 10 hospitals Islandwide.

In the past, most Northwell hospitals did not participate in the survey because “it’s a big effort,” said Dr. Peter Silver, Northwell’s chief quality officer. “It takes weeks for the hospitals to collect all the data to send to Leapfrog.”

But all hospitals are now doing so, he said.

“We wanted our communities to know how safe it was at Northwell,” he said. “We wanted them to have confidence in our hospitals in comparison to other hospitals.”

Silver said participation in the survey is a key reason why most Northwell hospitals moved up a letter grade or two.

Leapfrog’s director of health care ratings, Katie Stewart, said hospitals are not penalized for not participating in the nonprofit’s survey. If a hospital doesn’t submit data, “the publicly available safety information [from the federal government] is just weighted more heavily.”

Silver said Northwell uses Leapfrog reports — which include detailed information on safety-related measures in addition to letter grades — to identify possible areas for improvement, and leaders from hospitals meet regularly to, systemwide, “share lessons learned, to share best practices.”

Officials at the six Long Island Catholic Health hospitals, including St. Francis, also regularly meet to share strategies for improving safety, said Dr. Jason Golbin, the system’s chief medical officer.

“We’re looking for all opportunities to further enhance care,” he said. “And then we take those best practices from a campus like St. Francis and bring them across the system, allowing us to target a more consistent quality of care.”

Two of the three Long Island hospitals with low D ratings — no New York hospital received an F — are Catholic Health facilities: Mercy Hospital in Rockville Centre and Good Samaritan University Hospital in West Islip.

Golbin said safety improvements at those two hospitals should be reflected in future ratings. Hospitals submit data months before each Leapfrog report is released.

Nassau University Medical Center, a public hospital in East Meadow that received its ninth D grade in a row, also expects to see a “higher rating in the future due to the changes that have been implemented,” Maureen Shannon, NUMC’s senior vice president for quality and population health, said in an email.

Leapfrog has seen a marked improvement in hospital safety since it began the ratings system a decade ago, Stewart said, adding that Leapfrog caused hospitals to pay closer attention to safety. The group estimates that more than 16,000 lives were saved nationwide due to the improvements.

Lisa McGiffert, a patient advocate from Austin, Texas, who sits on the leadership committee of the Patient Safety Action Network, said Leapfrog’s ratings have become “more extensive and sophisticated than when they began.”

Leapfrog’s explanations of safety measures on its website generally are more accessible and easy to understand than what the federal government releases, she said.

“They way they do it at Leapfrog is more user-friendly….,” she said. “It allows you to do a quick review, and it also allows you to do a deep dive.”

As in past surveys, New York ranks low for safety. Only 12.7% of 150 hospitals rated statewide have A ratings, putting the state in 39th place nationwide — tied with Alabama — for the lowest proportion of As.

Stewart said New York hospitals are less likely to participate in surveys than hospitals in other states, which she said is “a good indicator as to the priority those hospitals place on transparency and patient safety.”

With Lisa L. Colangelo

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