- The Leapfrog Group said Tuesday it will expand its public ratings to outpatient settings beginning next year.
- The group, which is well known for its hospital ratings, will gather safety and quality data on ambulatory surgical settings via a voluntary survey. A new section of the Leapfrog Hospital Survey will collect similar data on hospital outpatient surgery departments.
- Both surveys will launch in April 2019, and culminate in a national report of results the following fall.
The move comes as HHS is stepping up its oversight of these centers. Last month, the Office of Management and Budget cleared the way for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to commence the Ambulatory Surgery Center Survey on Patient Safety Culture Database. That survey will focus on staff perceptions of a facility's safety culture, rather than hard data on patient safety and outcomes.
As payers, including Medicare, push for more care to be delivered in lower-cost outpatient settings, scrutiny of these facilities will increase.
"The vast majority of surgeries in the U.S. are performed in outpatient and ambulatory settings, but there are almost no independent data about safety and quality of this care," Leah Binder, CEO of The Leapfrog Group, said in a statement. "This leaves patients at risk without the information they need to select the best place for their care."
Data gathered by the new Leapfrog surveys will include basic facility information, physician and nursing staff, procedure volume and outcomes, patient safety practices and patient experience.
Outpatient centers that participate in next spring's surveys will receive detailed benchmarking reports, Leapfrog said. Results of the 2020 survey will be publicly reported.
There are more than 5,000 ambulatory surgery centers across the U.S. Leapfrog said it will limit first-year participation to just 250 centers so that it can fine-tune the new survey before broader distribution.
Some hospitals have criticized the methodology of Leapfrog's hospital survey, as ratings can help or hurt a hospital's bottom line and public image. In the group's April report, about a third of hospitals received an A grade, 28% a B, 35% a C, 6% a D and 1% an F.