More than three-quarters of the state's 73 hospitals issued patient safety grades today received a B or higher, with only two hospitals falling below C, according to a nonprofit health care safety advocate.
Of the grades issued, 23 hospitals received an A; 33 received a B; 15 received C; and 2 that would have received a grade lower than "C" were given a "score pending" designation.
The grade scale, developed by The Leapfrog Group, an employer group focusing on health care quality and affordability, and safety experts from around the country, were based on preventable hospital conditions such as infections, medication mistakes and other adverse conditions, according to the group.
Among New Jersey's hospitals receiving an A was Hackensack University Medical Center.
"We have worked hard to build a culture of innovation and creativity while providing the highest level of clinical care possible, and being recognized for our patient safety and quality is a rewarding reflection of our work," said Robert C. Garrett, president and CEO, in an e-mailed statement.
The Valley Hospital, of Ridgewood, and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, in New Brunswick, among others, also received As.
"This top grade is a reflection and a result of our longstanding focus on and commitment to patient safety and quality care," said Mitchell Rubinstein, vice president of medical affairs at Valley, said in a statement.
Cooper Health System was one of the hospitals received a C. Spokeswoman Lori E. Shaffer said the hospital voluntarily participated in the grading process by submitting comprehensive data, which was not required, and that Cooper was digesting the details of the rating to improve its grade.
"We work continuously to improve our quality and patient safety, and encourage the public to seek information from multiple sources, including their personal physician, when making decisions about where to seek their health care," Shaffer said in an e-mail.
Shaffer pointed to other ratings such as Cooper's cardiac program's three-star ranking in from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons and the "excellent score" awarded by the Joint Commission in March, as signs of Cooper's excellence and commitment to quality care.
Nationwide, of the 2,652 general hospitals that received a safety score, 729 earned As, while 679 earned Bs, according to Leapfrog.