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4 N.J. hospitals given top marks by national rating group

Four New Jersey hospitals have gotten top marks from a national non-profit that rates their performance on everything from infection prevention to high-risk surgery outcomes.

Kathleen O'brien,, Dec 3, 2015

Only 98 of the 1,600 hospitals that submit data to the Leapfrog Group made it onto its Top Hospitals of 2015 list, with some states seeing none of its hospitals make the cut.

The New Jersey hospitals are:

"Leapfrog Group is synonymous with patient safety and quality. We are honored to be one of only four hospitals in New Jersey and a select few across the country that have achieved this prestigious distinction," sad Stephen P. Zieniewicz, CEO of Saint Barnabas Medical Center.

Leapfrog was formed over a decade ago by major employers as a means of getting quality health care for their employees. The data it gets from hospitals is analyzed and made public in a series of reports throughout the year.

The group sets the bar high: Only 19 states had any hospital on the list, with Pennsylvania having only one (Reading) and New York State having none.

While many of the state's hospitals performed well in categories such as maternity care, high-risk surgeries, and hospital-acquired conditions, those that were designated Top Hospitals did well across the board.

In 2014, four New Jersey hospitals made the list, although Virtua Marlton wasn't included and Hoboken University Medical Center was on it instead. (One hospital didn't knock the other off the list, which has no set cut-off number. Instead, any hospital that meets the criteria makes the list.)

Some small, or specialized hospitals may not have been eligible for the list because they don't offer some of the services or perform some of the procedures that go into the overall score, cautioned Linda Schwimmer of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute.

But the list does remind consumers that often size doesn't translate into safety.

"There are some community hospitals that are small that do extremely well, and there are some large hospitals that are part of a large system that don't do particularly well," she said.

Consumers should also keep in mind that hospitals within the same chain may have different safety track records,

"If people are just thinking about it from the brand perspective, not all hospitals are equal within a particular system when it comes to quality and safety," she said.

Those who are considering elective surgery should check out that individual hospital's Leapfrog record for safety and efficacy of treatment, she suggested.

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