Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Congratulates 22 Local Hospitals on Receiving Blue Distinction Center® Designation for Quality and Efficiency

The Blue Distinction® Designation Aids Consumers and Employers in Choosing High-Performing Hospitals

EAGAN, Minn., Feb. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota today congratulates 22 Minnesota hospitals for being recognized by the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care® program in the areas of Spine Surgery and/or Knee and Hip Replacement.

Since 2006, consumers, medical providers and employers have relied on the Blue Distinction program to identify hospitals delivering quality care in Bariatric Surgery, Cardiac Care, Complex and Rare Cancers, Knee and Hip Replacements, Spine Surgery, and Transplants.

The Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care® program expanded recently to include new cost-efficiency measures, as well as more robust quality measures focused on improved patient health and safety. Six facilities in Minnesota are being recognized as Blue Distinction Centers for their expertise in delivering quality specialty care in Spine Surgery and/or Knee and Hip Replacement, and sixteen are being recognized as Blue Distinction Centers+ for their expertise in quality and cost efficiency in delivering specialty care. Quality is key: only those facilities that first meet Blue Distinction's nationally established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation as Blue Distinction Centers+. 

Minnesota facilities recognized as Blue Distinction Centers and/or Blue Distinction Centers+ (indicated by the plus symbol) for spine surgery and/or knee and hip replacement include:

  • Abbot Northwestern (Allina), Minneapolis: Knee and Hip (+), Spine Surgery
  • Douglas County Hospital, Alexandria: Knee and Hip (+)
  • Fairview Lakes Regional Medical Center, Wyoming: Knee and Hip (+)
  • Mayo Clinic Health System (formerly Fairview Red Wing Hospital), Red Wing: Knee and Hip
  • Fairview Ridges Hospital, Burnsville: Knee and Hip (+), Spine Surgery 
  • Fairview Southdale Hospital, Edina: Knee and Hip (+), Spine Surgery (+) 
  • HealthEast St. John's Hospital, Maplewood: Knee and Hip, Spine Surgery
  • HealthEast St. Joseph's Hospital, St. Paul: Knee and Hip, Spine Surgery 
  • Lakeview Hospital, Stillwater, Knee and Hip (+), Spine Surgery (+)
  • Mayo Clinic Rochester Methodist Hospital, Rochester: Knee and Hip
  • Mayo Clinic St. Mary's Hospital, Rochester: Spine Surgery
  • Mercy Hospital (Allina), Coon Rapids: Knee and Hip (+), Spine Surgery
  • North Memorial Health Care, Robbinsdale: Knee and Hip (+)
  • Ridgeview Medical Center, Waconia: Knee and Hip (+)
  • St. Cloud Hospital, St. Cloud: Knee and Hip (+), Spine Surgery (+)
  • St. Francis Regional Medical Center, Shakopee: Knee and Hip (+), Spine Surgery 
  • St. Joseph's Medical Center, Brainerd: Knee and Hip (+)
  • St. Luke's Hospital, Duluth: Knee and Hip (+)
  • United Hospital Inc., St. Paul: Knee and Hip (+), Spine Surgery
  • Unity Hospital, Fridley: Knee and Hip (+)
  • University of Minnesota Medical Center Fairview, Minneapolis: Knee and Hip (+), Spine Surgery
  • Woodwinds Health Campus, Woodbury: Knee and Hip, Spine Surgery 

"The sheer number of Blue Distinction designations in Minnesota speaks volumes about the level of clinical excellence we have throughout our state," said Dr. Larry Lee, executive medical director for provider relations and quality at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. "The rest of the nation looks to Minnesota as a leader in providing high quality, affordable health care, and I believe the Blue Distinction program is a significant contributor to that leadership.  I congratulate all of the providers who earned these distinctions for 2013, and I thank them for working with Blue Cross and advancing the health of the people and communities that we serve together."

Research confirms that these newly designated Blue Distinction Centers and Blue Distinction Centers+ demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients, with lower rates of complications and readmissions than their peers. Blue Distinction Centers+ are also more than 20 percent more cost-efficient. The program provides consumers with tools to help them make better informed healthcare decisions. These results will also enable employers, working with their local Blue Plan, to tailor benefits to meet their individual quality and cost objectives.

For more information about the Blue Distinction Program and to see a list of Blue Distinction Centers in your area, please visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction.  

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota's first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today: to promote a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. A nonprofit, taxable organization, Blue Cross is the largest health plan based in Minnesota, covering 2.9 million members in Minnesota and nationally through its health plans or plans administered by its affiliated companies. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago. Go to bluecrossmn.com to learn more about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 38 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for 100 million members – one-in-three Americans.  For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit www.BCBS.com.  We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.

Blue Distinction® Centers met overall quality measures for patient safety and outcomes, developed with input from the medical community. Blue Distinction® Centers+ also met cost measures that address consumers' need for affordable healthcare. Individual outcomes may vary. National criteria is displayed on www.bcbs.com.  A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for facilities located in its own service area.  To find out which services and providers (including hospital based physicians) are covered under your policy, or to learn about Local Blue Plan Criteria, contact your Local Blue Plan; and contact your provider before making an appointment to verify its current Network and Blue Distinction Centers status. Each hospital's Cost Index is calculated separately, based on data from its Local Blue Plan. Hospitals in portions of CA, ID, NY, PA, and WA may lie in areas served by two Local Blue Plans, resulting in two Cost Index figures; and their own Local Blue Plans decide whether all hospitals in these areas must meet Blue Distinction Centers+ national criteria for one or both Cost Index figures. Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for damages, losses, or non-covered charges resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers.  To find out more, contact your Local Blue Plan.

SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota




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