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January 28, 2019

DES MOINES, IA – Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced five Iowa hospitals and two South Dakota hospitals are designated as Blue Distinction® Centers or Blue Distinction Centers+, under the Blue Distinction Centers for Cardiac Care program. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated providers who show expertise in delivering improved patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community and leading accreditation and quality organizations.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA)1, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally and is expected to claim more than 23.6 million lives annually by 2030. Blue Distinction Centers for Cardiac Care seek to empower patients with the knowledge and tools to find quality cardiac care. To receive a Blue Distinction Centers designation, hospitals must demonstrate expertise in delivering safe and effective cardiac care, focusing on cardiac valve surgery, coronary artery bypass graft, and percutaneous coronary interventions episodes of care.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies across the nation have recognized more than 400 hospitals under the Blue Distinction Centers for Cardiac Care program. Only those hospitals that first meet nationally established measures for Blue Distinction Centers are considered for designation as Blue Distinction Centers+.

The following hospitals have been designated under the Blue Distinction Centers for Cardiac Care program:

Hospital City Designation
Allen Memorial Hospital Waterloo Blue Distinction Center+
Mercy Hospital Iowa City Blue Distinction Center+
Mercy Medical Center Des Moines Blue Distinction Center+
St. Luke's Methodist Hospital Cedar Rapids Blue Distinction Center+
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Iowa City Blue Distinction Center+

South Dakota
Hospital City Designation
Rapid City Regional Hospital Rapid City Blue Distinction Center
Sanford USD Medical Center Sioux Falls Blue Distinction Center+

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, cellular immunotherapy, fertility care, gene therapy, knee and hip replacements, maternity care, spine surgery, and transplants, while encouraging health care professionals to improve the care they deliver. Research shows that, compared to other providers, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients. On average, Blue Distinction Centers+ are also 20 percent more cost-efficient than non-Blue Distinction Center+ designated providers.

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

1 American Heart Association External Site