Skip to main content
March 28, 2016

DES MOINES, IowaWellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield has named 19 Iowa health systems as Blue Distinction Center+ facilities in the specialty areas of spine surgery and/or knee and hip replacement as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program:

Provider/Health System City Specialty
Spine
Surgery
Knee/Hip
Replacement

CHI Health Mercy Council Bluffs

Council Bluffs

 

X

Covenant Medical Center

Waterloo

 

X

Genesis Health System

Davenport

X

X

Jennie Edmundson Memorial Hospital

Council Bluffs

 

X

Mercy Hospital

Iowa City

X

X

Mercy Medical Center

Cedar Rapids

X

X

Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines

Des Moines

X

X

Mercy Medical Center

Dubuque

 

X

Mercy Medical Center 

Mason City

 

X

Mercy Medical Center – West Lakes

West Des Moines

 

X

UnityPoint Health® – Allen Hospital

Waterloo

X

X

UnityPoint Health® – Finley Hospital

Dubuque

 

X

UnityPoint Health® – Iowa Lutheran Hospital 

Des Moines

 

X

UnityPoint Health® – Iowa Methodist Medical Center

Des Moines

X

 

UnityPoint Health® – Methodist West Hospital 

West Des Moines

X

X

UnityPoint Health® – St. Luke’s Hospital

Cedar Rapids

 

X

UnityPoint Health® - St. Luke’s Regional Hospital

Sioux City

 

X

UnityPoint Health® – Trinity Bettendorf

Bettendorf

X

X

University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics

Iowa City

X

X

Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated healthcare facilities shown to deliver improved patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that were developed by Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies with input from the medical community. Research shows that facilities designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients compared with their peers. On average, facilities designated as a Blue Distinction Center+ are 20 percent more cost efficient in an episode of care compared to non-Blue Distinction Center+ designated healthcare facilities.

Blue Distinction Center+ Knee/Hip Replacement

Knee and hip replacement procedures are among the fastest growing medical treatments in the U.S., according to studies published in the June 2014 Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery1 and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons2. In 2010, the estimated cost of hip replacements averaged $17,500 and the estimated cost of knee replacements averaged $16,000, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality External Site (AHRQ)3

Hospitals designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ for Knee and Hip Replacement demonstrate expertise in total knee and total hip replacement surgeries, resulting in fewer patient complications and hospital readmissions. Designated hospitals must also maintain national accreditation.

Blue Distinction Center+ Spine Surgery

Spinal surgeries are among the most common and expensive elective surgeries in the U.S., according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality External Site (AHRQ), which creates a significant opportunity to improve quality and value within the healthcare system. For example, there were more than 465,000 spinal fusion operations in the U.S. in 2011, and hospital costs for a fusion procedure average $27,5681 according to AHRQ.

Hospitals designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ for Spine Surgery demonstrate expertise in cervical and lumbar fusion, cervical laminectomy and lumbar laminectomy/discectomy procedures, resulting in fewer patient complications and hospital readmissions compared to other hospitals. Designated hospitals must also maintain national accreditation.

Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality providers for their specialty care needs in the areas of bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacements, maternity care, spine surgery, and transplants, while encouraging healthcare professionals to improve the care they deliver.

For more information about the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program and for a complete listing of the designated facilities, please visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction External Site.