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Leah Binder
Leah Binder is President & CEO of of The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit based in Washington, DC, representing employers and other purchasers of health care calling for improved safety and quality in hospitals. She has been named on Modern Healthcare’s national list of the top 25 women in health care in 2013 as well as their annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare since 2009.

Under her leadership, The Leapfrog Group launched the Hospital Safety Score, which assigns letter grades assessing the safety of general hospitals across the country. She has also fostered groundbreaking innovations in the annual Leapfrog Hospital Survey, including partnerships to eliminate early elective deliveries, central line-associated bloodstream infections and safe use of health technology.

She sits on numerous national boards and councils, and serves as a regular contributor to both, the Huffington Post, and the Wall Street Journal online expert forum. She’s been cited by Becker’s as one of the nation’s leading experts leading the field of patient safety in 2013.

Her boards include the Institute of Medicine Collaboration on Patient Engagement, the Maternity Care Shared Decision Making Initiative National Advisory Council, the Leadership Advisory Board of the Healthcare Financial Management Association, and the National Priorities Partnership Board.

Prior to her position at The Leapfrog Group, Ms. Binder spent eight years as vice president at Franklin Community Health Network, an award-winning rural hospital network in Farmington, Maine. She previously worked as a senior policy advisor for the Office of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in New York City and started her career at the National League for Nursing, where she handled policy and communications for more than 6 years.
Ms. Binder has a bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University and two master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, one from the Annenberg School of Communication and the other from the Fels Institute of Government.

Entries by Leah Binder

The Real Hospital Experience Doesn't Come With a Mint on Your Pillow, But Should It?

(1) Comments | Posted May 18, 2015 | 4:14 PM

An overnight stay at an average hospital costs more than a Presidential Suite at the Four Seasons. But you're rarely in for a night of luxury. You'll be lucky to get a private room with a bath, and the phone will cost extra. Don't count on a mint on your...

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What Patients Deserve to Know About Hospitals

(1) Comments | Posted March 17, 2015 | 10:59 AM

Last week was Patient Safety Awareness Week, and it's time to recognize the "secret sauce" for any successful effort to improve health care quality: transparency. That's something both sides of the aisle should be able to get behind.

We have a long way to go. Choosing a doctor...

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Big Changes Announced for Medicare, But Watch Out, There's a Problem

(1) Comments | Posted February 5, 2015 | 11:18 AM

This week the Obama administration announced a dramatic plan to accelerate payment reform under Medicare, by moving away from the fee-for-service model toward something akin to pay-for-performance. The administration pledges to tie 50 percent of payments to quality by 2016.

On the one hand, this is promising...

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The Top 7 Healthcare Books of 2014

(0) Comments | Posted January 12, 2015 | 9:44 AM

To start off 2015, I offer my list of the seven most memorable healthcare books of the last year. The list includes three books that confront head-on the difficult issue of patient death, three more on politics and money in healthcare, and finally, my vote for The Most Memorable Book...

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MRIs at the Mall and Other Disruptive Ideas from a Bush-Family Entrepreneur

(0) Comments | Posted August 8, 2014 | 9:07 AM

I'm sitting on Amtrak distracted by a passenger two rows back, yakking on the phone to her doctor's office. She'd like to transfer her records to another doctor down the street, and alas, such an enormous undertaking cannot be completed in only two days. "Please," she begs, "Could you make...

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VA Solutions Should Start With Transparency

(0) Comments | Posted June 18, 2014 | 3:37 PM

The Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital scandal had policymakers calling for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki's head, and they got it, when President Obama accepted the Secretary's resignation.

Some policymakers are also calling for privatizing VA hospitals, allowing them to be owned and operated by the same entities that...

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Report: Obamacare 'Cadillac Tax' Comes With Unintended Consequences

(0) Comments | Posted March 24, 2014 | 12:39 AM

The president is traveling the country calling for an increase in the national minimum wage. "It is a clear choice," the president stated in Connecticut in early March. "Raise workers' wages, grow our economy, or give workers what amounts to another pay cut."

The very next day, a...

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Progress In Health Care Is Still "Excruciatingly Slow" Says Harvard Expert

(0) Comments | Posted March 3, 2014 | 3:07 PM

I had the opportunity to interview one of the nation's foremost experts on pay-for-performance and health care quality measurement, Harvard professor Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH. His entertaining and insightful blog "An Ounce of Evidence" tops my bookmarks. He's known in the business community for his forceful candor...

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Three Surprising Hazards of Worksite Wellness Programs

(0) Comments | Posted February 18, 2014 | 9:06 AM

Here's a proposal for the plot of a new comic book.

Perry White summons Clark Kent and Lois Lane into his office one day in Metropolis.

"I have bad news," White barks. "Health costs at the Daily Planet are through the roof. And it's all your fault. You're unhealthy!"

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The Best Disruptive Writing of 2013

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2014 | 2:25 PM

Clayton Christensen famously coined the term "disruptive innovation" to describe "simple business applications that relentlessly move up market, eventually displacing established competitors."

Disruption is not just change; it is change that gores somebody's ox. There has never been a year like 2013 for disruptive writing about health...

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The Courage And Triumph Of The Patient

(0) Comments | Posted December 16, 2013 | 11:02 AM

Improving the "patient experience" is a trending topic in health policy circles these days, the subject of many new conferences and journal articles. Providers puzzle over this. How can they improve patient "compliance" and "adherence" to doctor's orders? What are the techniques to educate patients on "self-management"? How can we...

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Hospital Lobbyists Aren't So Savvy in Dealing With Hospital Ratings

(5) Comments | Posted November 26, 2013 | 8:34 AM

Lately hospital lobbyists appear flummoxed by a relatively new and powerful phenomenon in health care they can't seem to control: public reports comparing the quality of care different hospitals provide to their patients. A variety of organizations now issue hospital comparisons, from U.S. News & World Report to...

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The Nauseating Mistake Hospitals Make and the $10 Fix They Scrimp on

(0) Comments | Posted November 13, 2013 | 10:19 AM

A few days ago, the Joint Commission issued a sentinel event alert on "Unintended Retention of Foreign Objects," also known by the acronym "URFO." This is when sponges, surgical tools or other objects are left in the body cavity after surgery. The Joint Commission is the accrediting agency that...

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Two Major Breakthroughs in New Surgeon Rating Study

(0) Comments | Posted October 15, 2013 | 3:53 PM

There's an old joke health care cynics tell:

Q. What do you call the guy who graduated last in his medical school class?
A. Doctor.

We chuckle at this -- albeit nervously -- because it's strange to think of our doctor at the bottom of any class. We like...

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Stunning News On Preventable Deaths In Hospitals

(1) Comments | Posted September 30, 2013 | 3:30 PM

In 1999, Americans learned that 98,000 people were dying every year from preventable errors in hospitals. That came from a widely touted analysis by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) called To Err Is Human. This was the "Silent Spring" of the health care world, grabbing headlines for revealing...

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The Shocking Truth About Medication Errors

(0) Comments | Posted September 11, 2013 | 3:27 PM

Let's say a physician writes a prescription for Colchicine and accidentally orders "10.0 mg," when he should have ordered "1.0 mg." That's a tiny decimal error, a mistake even the best doctor could make. But it can be catastrophic for the patient. The higher dose could cause Colchicine poisoning, similar...

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Cracking Health Costs: Dave Ramsey-Style

(0) Comments | Posted August 19, 2013 | 9:55 AM

Dave Ramsey is a Tennessee-based Christian author and talk-radio host, who advises on personal finance. As Jewish Northeasterners, my husband and I aren't exactly his target demographic, but we have remained devoted fans for over eight years. Ramsey takes a common sense approach to managing money, as he...

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Why You Are Being Charged for Mistakes Hospitals Make

(0) Comments | Posted July 23, 2013 | 4:21 PM

Claire* was detained by security at the airport when the metal detector went off. Guards couldn't figure out why. Eventually, they let her board the flight, but when she arrived home she immediately asked her doctor to order an X-Ray. The result: There in Claire's abdomen, clear as day, was...

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What Laura Ingalls Wilder Could Teach Obamacare

(0) Comments | Posted July 19, 2013 | 9:33 AM

Thirty-two health systems in the United States are designated by the federal government as "Pioneer ACOs." Yesterday CMS, the agency that runs Medicare and Medicaid, announced that several of them are quitting as pioneers.

ACOs are "Accountable Care Organizations," networks of physicians and hospitals that...

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What You Need to Know About Early Elective Deliveries

(8) Comments | Posted April 26, 2013 | 8:27 AM

The prevalence of early elective deliveries perfectly embodies the five biggest problems in our health system today. These are births scheduled without a medical reason between 37 and 39 completed weeks of pregnancy. Below I explain how -- but keep reading, because I do have some words of optimism in...

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