Surcharge Calculator a ‘Hidden’ Gem in Leapfrog’s Safety Score Toolkit

The Leapfrog Group (Leapfrog), a national nonprofit watchdog group, has devised a safety score toolkit containing a health surcharge calculator to help employers and health care purchasers determine hidden and unnecessary expenses that result from medical errors within general acute care hospitals. Medical errors remain the third leading cause of death in the United States and can cost employers millions in surcharges.


Released concurrently with the November 2014 health enrollment period, the Hospital Safety Score Purchaser Toolkit provides employers with user friendly free and downloadable “plug-and-play” communications, including newsletter articles, internal memos, and template emails.

Need for Calculator

According to Leapfrog’s Spring 2014 hospital safety score research, one in 25 patients acquired an infection in the hospital and 1,000 people died each day from preventable medical errors. The organization’s Fall 2014 research showed 41 percent of hospitals received a “C,” “D,” or “F” grade. Leapfrog estimates that on average, a patient admitted to a hospital with a safety score of a “C” grade or lower costs health purchasers $8,768 in hidden surcharges due to medical errors. The organization writes that “by shifting employees to `A’ hospitals through improved benefits plan design, employers can decrease these hidden surcharges and protect their employees and dependents from harm.”

Calculator Features

The calculator enables purchasers to discover their annual hidden hospital error surcharge and average surcharge per admission. The calculator works by entering into designated fields the total number of calendar year admissions; the total percent of admissions to hospitals with hospital scores of “A-F”; estimated percent of hospital admissions requiring surgery and intensive care unit (ICU) stays; and the estimated amount a hospital believes it loses on employee productivity for every dollar spent on inpatient care (e.g., $1.00).

The calculator has received The Care Innovations™ Validation Institute’s “Certificate of Validation Seal” and has been awarded Gold Standard status by the Disease Management Purchasing Consortium.