These Are the States with the Best and Worst Hospitals for Patient Safety

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Most people probably prefer to avoid going to the hospital if possible. It’s a choice of last resort, when we’re too sick for the doctor’s office, or need sophisticated tests or serious surgery.

If we do need a hospital visit, though, we naturally want to make sure we’re going to the best one possible. While quality of care varies greatly from one institution to another, it turns out that some parts of the country have more top-quality hospitals than others.

The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization that collects and analyzes hospital data on safety, quality, and resource use, publishes an annual Hospital Safety Guide ranking health care facilities around the country with letter grades, from A to F. These grades are based on incidence of surgical problems, practices to prevent errors, safety problems, and various factors relating to doctors, nurses, and other staff, as well as number of hospital-derived infections, including infections that even doctors are afraid of.

The Leapfrog site allows users to search individual hospitals to see how they rate in each of these areas, as well as revealing which states have the highest percentages of A-grade facilities.

According to the rankings released this spring, the best state for hospitals is Oregon, where 58.06% of the institutions surveyed got an A. Virginia wasn’t far behind, with some 53.03% of hospitals qualifying.

The rest of the top ten, in descending order, were Maine, Massachusetts, Utah, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Ohio, Texas, and Colorado.

At the bottom of the list were Wyoming, Alaska, Washington D.C., Delaware, and North Dakota, none of which boasted any A-level hospitals. The rest of the bottom ten, again in descending order, were Iowa, New York, Nebraska, Arkansas, and West Virginia. New York and Delaware are also home to some of the U.S. counties with the fewest hospitals.