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May 29, 2020

DES MOINES, IA – Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced 14 Iowa facilities, including hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), have been designated as Blue Distinction Centers or Blue Distinction Centers+ for the Knee and Hip Replacement program.

Blue Distinction Centers® are nationally designated health care facilities that show expertise in delivering high-quality patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures developed with input from the medical community and leading accreditation and quality organizations. Only those facilities that first meet nationally established quality and cost measures for Blue Distinction Centers are considered for designation as Blue Distinction Centers+.

Facilities 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 readmissions. Designated facilities, which include hospitals (with and without an on-site intensive care unit), must maintain national accreditation. In addition to meeting these quality thresholds, facilities designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ are, on average, 20 percent more cost-efficient in an episode of care compared to other facilities.

Knee and hip replacement procedures remain some of the most commonly performed, elective surgical procedures in the U.S., according to a 2018 study External Site released by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. In 2014, there were 370,770 total hip replacements and 680,150 total knee replacements1.

The following facilities have been designated under the Blue Distinction Centers for Knee and Hip Replacement program:

Hospital City Designation
table row Alegent Health Mercy Hospital Council Bluffs Blue Distinction Center+
Allen Hospital Waterloo Blue Distinction Center+
Mercy Medical Center Cedar Rapids Blue Distinction Center+
MercyOne Cedar Falls Medical Center Cedar Falls Blue Distinction Center+
MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center Mason City Blue Distinction Center+
MercyOne Siouxland Medical Center Sioux City Blue Distinction Center
MercyOne Waterloo Medical Center Waterloo Blue Distinction Center+
MercyOne West Des Moines Medical Center West Des Moines Blue Distinction Center+
Methodist West HospitalWest Des MoinesBlue Distinction Center+
Ottumwa Regional Health CenterOttumwaBlue Distinction Center+
Pella Regional Medical CenterPellaBlue Distinction Center+
St. Luke's Methodist HospitalCedar RapidsBlue Distinction Center+
University of Iowa Medical CenterIowa CityBlue Distinction Center+

The Blue Distinction Specialty Care program remains a trusted and valuable source for patients seeking quality 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, substance use treatment and recovery and transplants.

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

1 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Changing Demographics in Primary and Revision Total Joint Arthroplasty, 2000-2014 Matthew Sloan, Neil P Sheth, March 06, 2018 External Site.