One in Three California Hospitals Gets Top Safety Rating in National Study

Nearly 34 percent of California hospitals received top grades in protecting patient safety, according to the spring 2023 hospital safety grades released Wednesday by The Leapfrog Group, an independent nonprofit health care watchdog.

The average risk of contracting deadly infections had spiked during the pandemic.

With one-third of Golden State hospitals earning Leapfrog's top grade, California is 12th in the nation when it comes to the percentage of “A”-grade hospitals. In the rankings last fall, California placed 25th.

The Leapfrog Group uses an academic grading scale with five letter grades to score nearly 3,000 hospitals nationwide on more than 30 measures of patient safety. Leapfrog said its hospital rating system is the only one in the country focusing solely on a hospital’s ability to protect patients from preventable errors.

In California, 95 hospitals received an A, 68 hospitals received a B, 93 hospitals received a C and two, in Southern California, received a failing “F” safety rating.

Five Bay Area hospitals received Leapfrog’s highest safety ratings: El Camino Hospital, Mountain View and Los Gatos centers; Good Samaritan Hospital, San Jose; and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals in San Jose and Santa Clara.

Three Santa Clara County hospitals received “B” ratings: the Kaiser Foundation San Jose Hospital, San Jose’s Regional Medical Center and Stanford Medical Center in Palo Alto.

All three hospitals in the Santa Clara County Healthcare System – O’Connor Hospital and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose and the St. Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy – received a “C” safety rating.

A total of 24 Bay Area hospitals received an “A” rating

  • California Pacific Medical Center - Mission Bernal Campus, San Francisco
  • Chinese Hospital, San Francisco
  • Contra Costa Regional Medical Center, Martinez
  • El Camino Hospital, Mountain View
  • El Camino Hospital Los Gatos
  • Good Samaritan Hospital of San Jose
  • Kaiser Foundation Hospital - Antioch
  • Kaiser Foundation Hospital - Fremont
  • Kaiser Foundation Hospital - Oakland
  • Kaiser Foundation Hospital - Richmond
  • Kaiser Foundation Hospital - San Leandro
  • Kaiser Foundation Hospital - San Rafael
  • Kaiser Foundation Hospital - Santa Clara
  • Kaiser Foundation Hospital - Santa Rosa
  • Kaiser Foundation Hospital - South San Francisco
  • Kaiser Foundation Hospital - Vallejo
  • Kaiser Foundation Hospital - Walnut Creek
  • Mills-Peninsula Medical Center, Burlingame
  • Montclair Hospital Medical Center
  • Saint Francis Memorial Hospital, San Francisco
  • Sequoia Hospital, Redwood City
  • St. Mary's Medical Center, San Francisco
  • UCSF Health - Mission Bay, San Francisco
  • UCSF at Parnassus Heights

Eight hospitals in the Bay Area that received a “B” rating

  • Eden Medical Center, Castro Valley
  • Kaiser Foundation Hospital Redwood City
  • Kaiser Foundation Hospital - San Jose
  • Regional Medical Center of San Jose
  • San Leandro Hospital
  • Sonoma Valley Hospital
  • Stanford Health Care, Palo Alto
  • Stanford Health Care Tri-Valley, Pleasanton

These 16 Bay Area hospitals received a “C” rating

  • AHMC Seton Medical Center, Daly City
  • Alameda Hospital
  • Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Oakland
  • Alta Bates Summit Medical Center - Alta Bates Campus, Berkeley
  • California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco
  • Dominican Hospital, Santa Cruz
  • John Muir Health Medical Center Concord
  • John Muir Medical Center Walnut Creek Campus
  • O'Connor Hospital, San Jose
  • Providence Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital
  • San Ramon Regional Medical Center
  • Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, San Jose
  • St. Louise Regional Hospital, Gilroy
  • Sutter Delta Medical Center, Antioch
  • Washington Hospital Healthcare System, Fremont
  • Wilma Chan Highland Hospital Campus, Oakland

Four hospitals in the Bay Area received “D” ratings

  • San Mateo Medical Center
  • St. Rose Hospital, Hayward
  • Watsonville Community Hospital
  • Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center

High rates of three health care-associated infections, or HAIs, “should stop hospitals in their tracks,” Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, said in a press release, noting that “infections like these can be life for death for some patients.”

“We recognize the tremendous strain the pandemic put on hospitals and their workforce, but alarming findings like these indicate hospitals must recommit to patient safety and build more resilience,” Binder said.

The problematic infections are Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA; central line-associated bloodstream infections, or CLABSI; and catheter-associated urinary tract infections, or CAUTI. When compared to rankings that covered the period immediately before the COVID-19 outbreak, the analysis found an increased infection ratio for all three infections.

“The spring 2023 Safety Grade data spotlights how hospital responses to the pandemic led to a decline in patient safety and HAI management,”said Binder.


Three decades of journalism experience, as a writer and editor with Gannett, Knight-Ridder and Lee newspapers, as a business journal editor and publisher and as a weekly newspaper editor in Scotts Valley and Gilroy; with the Weeklys group since 2017. Recipient of several first-place writing and editing awards, California News Publishers Association.


  1. Thanks for the substantive coverage of this consequential issue. The quality of health care provision, and the real health care outcomes of that health care, are about a set of issues as one could imagine. What stands out clearly in the reported results is that the quantity and quality of available resources are not positively correlated to better health outcomes. Organization, planning, protocols, quality control all matter.

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