Chicago hospital sues Leapfrog for defamation

Saint Anthony Hospital in Chicago is suing Leapfrog for defamation, alleging the hospital ratings agency knowingly used incorrect information to lower the hospital's letter grade for patient safety, according to the Cook County Record.

The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, alleges Leapfrog awarded Saint Anthony Hospital letter grades of "A" for patient safety in its fall 2016 and spring 2017 reports, but lowered the hospital's grade to "C" in its fall 2017 report.

The hospital claims Leapfrog lowered its grade for patient safety for allegedly only prescribing patient medications electronically 50 to 74 percent of the time. However, Saint Anthony Hospital said its physicians prescribe medications electronically at least 95 percent of the time, and that data was provided to Leapfrog, according to the report.

The hospital alleged it informed Leapfrog of the error numerous times in October, but Leapfrog never said it would correct the issue prior to releasing its hospital ratings Oct. 31. Saint Anthony contends Leapfrog's refusal to issue the hospital a higher letter grade and correct the alleged error amounts to defamation, according to the report.

"Saint Anthony lacks an adequate remedy at law because once the grade is published, Saint Anthony cannot undue the effect to its reputation," the hospital said in its complaint. "Saint Anthony brings this motion to seek the narrowest relief possible — temporarily stop Leapfrog from publishing the false statements regarding Saint Anthony and Saint Anthony’s inaccurate Hospital Safety Grade of a 'C.'"

A search of Leapfrog's website on Nov. 6 did not return a rating for Saint Anthony Hospital.

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