The Leapfrog Group is making changes to its survey program for 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including an option that allows hospitals to maintain their 2019 results instead of receiving new results for 2020. (Read the complete announcement here.)

The changes are intended to shorten the time required to participate in surveys but “will uphold our shared vision for quality, safety, and transparency, while allowing our hospital and ambulatory surgery center colleagues to devote their time to the urgent needs of the moment,” Leapfrog announced. Other changes:

Hospitals may maintain their 2019 survey results in lieu of reporting to the 2020 Leapfrog Hospital Survey.

Significant reductions to the submission requirements for the 2020 Leapfrog Hospital Survey. “Hospitals choosing to submit the 2020 Leapfrog Hospital Survey must complete the five sections of the survey that constitute Leapfrog’s minimum requirements for submission,” Leapfrog said. “Hospitals submitting the minimum required sections will not be scored or publicly reported as ‘Declined to Respond’ for any additional survey sections that are not submitted. Leapfrog will score and publicly report the remaining sections of the survey as ‘Not Available,’ which will be described on our public reporting website as unavailable data due to the COVID-19 crisis. Hospitals are still encouraged to submit all applicable sections of the survey.”

Late submission deadline is extended to Dec. 31 instead of Nov. 30. “This also applies to hospitals that initially decide to continue reporting their 2019 results and wish to update by submitting the 2020 Leapfrog Hospital Survey later in the year.”

More time for the National Quality Forum Safe Practice 2 Culture of Safety Measurement, Feedback, and Intervention (Section 6B). “The reporting period for administering a culture of safety survey will be updated to the last 36 months, rather than the last 24 months, and for additional practice elements to the last 24 months, rather than the last 12 months.”

Limited reporting for Hand Hygiene (Section 6D). “All hospitals submitting a 2020 Leapfrog Hospital Survey will be required to respond to the new Hand Hygiene subsection,” but Leapfrog will publicly report results only for “hospitals that are scored as ‘Achieved the Standard’ (four out of four bars) or ‘Considerable Achievement’ (three out of four bars).” Others will be publicly reported as “Not Available” due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Suspension of On-Site Data Verification. “As part of Leapfrog’s standard protocols to ensure data accuracy, we will suspend On-Site Data Verification of 2020 Leapfrog Hospital Survey Results. “All other verification protocols will continue including warnings in the Online Survey Tool, extensive monthly data verification, and monthly documentation requirements.”