Tag Archives: Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care


UA Medical Center recognized for transplant care

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona today  recognized University of Arizona Medical Center—University Campus (UAMC) with a Blue Distinction Center® designation for delivering quality transplant care as part of the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care® program.  Blue Distinction Centers are hospitals shown to deliver quality specialty care based on objective, transparent measures for patient safety and health outcomes that were developed with input from the medical community.

In 2006, the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program was developed to help patients find quality providers for their specialty care needs while encouraging health-care professionals to improve the care they deliver.  To receive a Blue Distinction Centers for Transplants® designation, a hospital must demonstrate success in meeting patient safety criteria as well as transplant-specific quality measures (including survival metrics).

“UAMC is proud to be recognized by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona for meeting the rigorous selection criteria for transplants set by the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program,” said Deborah Maurer, UAMC associate vice president of transplant services. “BDCT designation is an important quality indicator for patients, employers and insurers, and a validation that our efforts to strengthen our transplant programs are succeeding.”

The number of transplants – including heart, lung, liver, pancreas and bone marrow/stem cell – in the United States  have increased in recent years.  There were 28,954 transplant procedures performed in 2013, compared to 28,052 in 2012.  Today, more than 123,000 people are awaiting organ donations for transplants, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.  Additionally, the department estimates  more than 20,000 people each year may benefit from a bone marrow/stem cell transplant as their best treatment option.  These transplant procedures cost the nation more than $20 billion annually at an average of approximately $500,000 each, according to the Milliman Research Report, “2011 U.S. Organ and Tissue Transplant Cost Estimates and Discussion.” 

“BCBSAZ congratulates UMAC on this recognition, along with their commitment to quality care while helping members better manage their care through the Blue Distinction Specialty Care Program,” said Vishu Jhaveri, MD, BCBSAZ chief medical officer.

Research shows that Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients with higher survival rates, compared with their peers.  

The Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program identifies hospitals delivering quality care in bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery and transplants.  These specialty areas comprise approximately 30 percent of inpatient hospital expenditures.  For more information about the program and for a complete listing of the designated facilities, please visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction.


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona honors hospitals

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona has named both Mountain Vista Medical Center and St. Luke’s Medical Center as a Blue Distinction Center+ in the area of Knee and Hip Replacement.

The Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care® program is a national designation awarded by Blue Cross Blue Shield companies to medical facilities that have demonstrated expertise in delivering quality specialty care – and has recently been expanded to include more robust quality measures focused on improved patient health and safety as well as new cost-efficiency measures.

The selection criteria used to evaluate facilities were developed with input from the medical community and include general quality and safety metrics as well as program specific metrics. Mountain Vista and St. Luke’s are proud to have met the rigorous selection criteria that have been set by the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program.

“Our hospitals are honored to be recognized for their enduring commitment to deliver quality specialty orthopaedic care in a cost-efficient way,” said Bob Wallen, regional vice president, Managed Care, for IASIS Healthcare, the parent company of Mountain Vista and St. Luke’s. “This designation will help guide patients to choose the very best care available.”

Research confirms that the 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+ also are more than 20 percent more cost-efficient. The program provides consumers with tools to make better informed health care decisions, and these results will enable employers, working with their local Blue Plan, to tailor benefits to meet their individual quality and cost objectives.