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Blue @ Work

Get better outcomes with specialty care

Learn more about Blue Distinction® Specialty Care.

When your employees need to get specialized care, like surgery or a transplant, they have a big decision to make. Where they choose to go can have an impact on their outcomes and overall costs. You can help them find the best place to get higher quality and more affordable care by guiding them to a Blue Distinction® Center.

Blue Distinction Centers are facilities that provide a high level of expertise, and purposeful innovation in specialized care to help your employees get well and avoid unnecessary costs. These facilities are recognized by the Blue Cross® Blue Shield® Association’s Blue Distinction® Specialty Care program, and have demonstrated expertise in ten key areas: bariatric (weight-loss) surgery, cancer care, cardiac care, cellular immunotherapy, fertility care, gene therapy, knee and hip replacement, maternity care, spine surgery, and transplants.

Within the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program, there are two designations: facilities with the Blue Distinction Center designation are recognized for their expertise in delivering specialty care, and those with the Blue Distinction Center+ designation are recognized for delivering cost-efficient, expert specialty care.

Why choose a Blue Distinction Center?

Costs for specialty care can add up quickly, especially if there are complications or hospital re-admissions. Procedures and other care in those seven key areas account for more than 12.7 million inpatient discharges and $272 billion in hospital charges annually.1

However, Blue Distinction Centers continually show better outcomes, including fewer complications and readmission rates, and Blue Distinction Center+ facilities are more cost-efficient, saving nearly an average of 20 percent per episode of care.2

How can I get my employees to choose a Blue Distinction Center?

When you encourage your employees to seek specialized care from a Blue Distinction Center, everyone wins. You can incentivize the use of Blue Distinction Centers by offering benefit differentials, like lower copays or deductibles. If your employees know that their out-of-pocket costs will be lower at a Blue Distinction Center, they’re far more likely to seek care there.

Whether or not you use a benefit differential to encourage your employees to use a Blue Distinction Center, these facilities are a great option for anyone who needs specialized care. To find one of these facilities, go to and click on Find a Blue Distinction Center.

Have questions or want to learn more about Blue Distinction Specialty Care? Talk to your Wellmark representative or email us at Send Email.

1AHRQ-sponsored Health Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). 2013.

2Talk to your Wellmark representative for supporting facts and figures. Individual outcomes may vary.

Blue Distinction Centers (BDC) met overall quality measures for patient safety and outcomes, developed with input from the medical community. A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for providers located in its own service area; for details, contact your Local Blue Plan. Blue Distinction Centers+ (BDC+) also met cost measures that address consumers’ need for affordable healthcare. Each Blue Plan. Blue Distinction Centers+ (BDC+) also met cost measures that address consumers’ need for affordable healthcare. Each provider’s cost of care is evaluated using data from its Local Blue Plan. Providers in CA, ID, NY, PA, and WA may lie in two Local Blue Plans’ areas, resulting in two evaluations for cost of care; and their own Local Blue Plans decide whether one or both cost of care evaluation(s) must meet BDC+ national criteria. National criteria for BDC and BDC+ are displayed on Individual outcomes may vary. For details on a provider’s in-network status or your own policy’s coverage, contact your Local Blue Plan and ask your provider before making an appointment. Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for non-covered charges or other losses or damages resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers. Blue Cross®, Blue Shield®, and the Cross® and Shield® symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an Association of Independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.