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February 22, 2018

DES MOINES, IA – In an effort to help prospective parents find hospitals that deliver quality, affordable maternity care, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield announces six South Dakota hospitals that have received either the Blue Distinction® Center for Maternity Care or Blue Distinction Center+ for Maternity Care designation under the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

Nearly four million babies are born in the U.S. annually, making childbirth the most common cause of hospitalization, and cesarean sections are the most common operating room procedures, according to National Centers for Health Statistics and the Agency for Health care Research & Quality. Reducing early elective delivery is an area of focus for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics. According to Health Affairs, elective inductions result in more cesarean deliveries and a longer maternal hospitalization. The Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program evaluates hospitals on quality measures for vaginal and cesarean delivery.

The six South Dakota hospitals designated include:

Provider/Health System
Avera Sacred Heart Hospital
Blue Distinction Center
Avera Queen of Peace Hospital
Blue Distinction Center
Avera St Mary's Hospital
Blue Distinction Center
Rapid City Regional Hospital
Rapid City
Blue Distinction Center
Avera McKennan Hospital
Sioux Falls
Blue Distinction Center+
Sanford USD Medical Center
Sioux Falls
Blue Distinction Center+

Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) companies across the nation have recognized more than 1,000 hospitals as Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care. Hospitals recognized with this designation are assessed using a combination of quality information supplied by hospitals and cost measures derived from BCBS companies’ medical claims.

Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality specialty care in the areas of bariatric surgery, cancer care, cardiac care, maternity care, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery and transplants, while encouraging health care professionals to improve the care they deliver. Research shows that, compared to other hospitals, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients.

For more information about the program and for a complete listing of the designated facilities, please visit External Site.