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Quality of Care Among Medicare Patients Undergoing Pancreatic Surgery: Safety Grade, Magnet Recognition, and Leapfrog Minimum Volume Standards—Which Quality Benchmark Matters?

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The association of national quality benchmarking metrics with postoperative outcomes following complex surgery remains unknown. We assessed the relationship between the “quality trifactor” of Leapfrog minimum volume standards, Hospital Safety Grade A, and Magnet Recognition with outcomes of Medicare patients undergoing pancreatectomy.


The Standard Analytic Files (SAF) merged with Leapfrog Hospital Survey and Leapfrog Safety Scores Denominator Files were reviewed to identify Medicare patients who underwent pancreatic procedures between 2013 and 2015. Primary outcomes were overall and serious complications, as well as 30- and 90-day mortality. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were conducted to evaluate possible associations among hospitals meeting the quality trifactor and short-term outcomes.


Among 4853 Medicare patients, 909 (18.7%) underwent pancreatectomy at hospitals meeting the quality trifactor. Among 260 hospitals, 7.3% (n = 19) met the quality trifactor. Safety Grade A (48.8%, n = 127) was the most commonly met criterion followed by Magnet Recognition (36.2%, n = 94); the Leapfrog minimum volume standards were achieved by 25% (n = 65) of hospitals. Patients undergoing surgery at hospitals that were only Safety Grade A and Magnet designated, but did not meet Leapfrog criteria, had higher odds of serious complications (OR 1.59, 95% CI 1.00–2.51). In contrast, patients undergoing treatment at hospitals having all three designations (i.e., the quality trifactor) had 40% and 39% lower odds of both serious complications (OR 0.60, 95% CI 0.37–0.97) and 90-day mortality (OR 0.61, 95% CI 0.42–0.89), respectively. In turn, patients undergoing pancreatectomy at quality trifactor hospitals had higher odds of experiencing the composite quality measure textbook outcome (OR 1.28, 95% CI 1.03–1.59) versus patients undergoing pancreatectomy at non-trifactor hospitals.


While Safety Grade A and Magnet designation alone were not associated with higher odds of an optimal composite outcome following pancreatectomy, compliance with Leapfrog criteria to achieve the “quality trifactor” metric was associated with lower odds of serious complications and mortality.

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Correspondence to Timothy M. Pawlik.

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Merath, K., Mehta, R., Tsilimigras, D.I. et al. Quality of Care Among Medicare Patients Undergoing Pancreatic Surgery: Safety Grade, Magnet Recognition, and Leapfrog Minimum Volume Standards—Which Quality Benchmark Matters?. J Gastrointest Surg (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11605-019-04504-6

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  • Pancreas
  • Pancreatectomy
  • Quality of care
  • Leapfrog
  • Magnet Recognition