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Hospital report card isn't reliable

John T. Mather Memorial Hospital, located at 75

John T. Mather Memorial Hospital, located at 75 North Country Rd. in Port Jefferson, is one of the five hospitals on Long Island to score an A in patient safety, rated by The Leapfrog Group, a non-profit founded by large companies to improve health care quality. Credit: Heather Walsh

In a Nov. 7 news story about The Leapfrog Group’s safety assessment of Long Island hospitals, “3 hospitals on LI receive an A rating,” a Leapfrog spokeswoman is quoted as saying, “It really doesn’t seem there has been a concerted effort around safety and improvements.”

The truth is there have been significant improvements in patient safety within the vast majority of hospitals locally and throughout the state and nation, which is evident in declining mortality rates in most key clinical areas.

While some hospital report cards can help consumers decide where to get care, Leapfrog relies on flawed methodology rather than evidence-based clinical data rooted in science and supported by peer-reviewed literature. For that reason, many hospitals recognized nationally by more-legitimate evaluators of care, including the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, do not participate in Leapfrog’s survey.

A telling assessment of Leapfrog’s faulty approach was published Tuesday by the Healthcare Association of New York State, a trade association, which rated Leapfrog’s survey as one of the nation’s least reliable hospital report cards, giving it two out of five stars, with one being the worst.

Health care leaders recognize there is always room to improve patient safety and satisfaction, but Leapfrog’s damning assessment of so many New York hospitals is wrong — and a disservice to consumers.

Michael J. Dowling,

  New Hyde Park

Editor’s note: The writer is president and chief executive of Northwell Health.

Blue MAGA shirt shouldn’t offend

Newsday’s Nov. 8 news story “Election Day snags” reported that some voters complained that a poll worker in Remsenburg wore a blue shirt with the slogan “Make America Great Again” on the front. The shirt did not mention any candidate or the slogan’s promoter, President Donald Trump. I think wearing a blue shirt with that slogan should not offend anyone. After all, red is the color of the opposing major party.

Don’t people want to see a great American country for their children and grandchildren? I applaud this person for expressing that sentiment, and I hope others feel the same. Both sides should join in this effort regardless of party affiliation. No one should feel offended here.

Nina Hall,