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Top Centers for Specialty Care

Blue Distinction® is a designation awarded by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield to high-performing medical facilities in these areas:

  • Bariatric Surgery
  • Cardiac Care
  • Complex and Rare Cancers
  • Knee and Hip Replacement 
  • Maternity Care 
  • Spine Surgery
  • Transplants

Facilities designated Blue Distinction Centers + for Specialty Care® and Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care® have met stringent selection criteria. 

Blue Distinction Centers + for Specialty Care
® include facilities that are recognized for delivering expert specialty care in quality and cost efficiency. 

Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care® include facilities that are recognized for delivering expert specialty care in quality and efficiency. 

Blue Distinction Centers® in Iowa and South Dakota are listed below. You can find Blue Distinction Centers outside of Iowa and South Dakota on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Web site.External Site

 

Blue Distinction Centers for Bariatric Surgery® provide a full range of bariatric surgical care services including inpatient care, post-operative care, follow-up, and patient education. Selection criteria included*:

  • Quality of post surgical follow-up care
  • Ability of clients to maintain their weight loss
  • Morbidity/mortality rates
  • Pre- and post-surgical education for patients and plans for follow-up care
  • Appropriate equipment for managing care for morbidly obese members
  • Ongoing quality management and improvement programs
  • Physician and staff experience and credentials

If you're considering bariatric surgery, please review these important prerequisites.

Iowa facilities include:

Facility Location Blue Distinction Center Blue Distinction Center +
Iowa Methodist Medical Center Des Moines No XTrue
Iowa Specialty Hospital Belmond X No
Mercy Medical Center North Iowa Mason City No XTrue
Mercy Medical Center West Lakes West Des Moines No XTrue
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Iowa City XTrue
Gastric Stapling Procedures
XTrue
Gastric Band Procedures

South Dakota facilities include:

Facility Location Blue Distinction Center Blue Distinction Center +
Sanford Medical Center Sioux Falls No XTrue
Avera McKennan Hospital Sioux Falls XTrue
Gastric Stapling Procedures
XTrue
Gastric Band Procedures

Blue Distinction Center/Blue Distinction Center+ Bariatric Surgery designations apply to gastric stapling and gastric banding unless indiciated separately.

*Please Note: Although the Blue Distinction Centers have met specific criteria and standards, this does not imply any guarantee of a positive outcome or endorsement by Wellmark. In addition, coverage for bariatric surgery services is subject to all of the terms of the member's benefits certificate or policy.

Blue Distinction Centers for Cardiac Care® provide a full range of cardiac care services, including:

  • Inpatient cardiac care
  • Cardiac rehabilitation
  • Cardiac catheterization (including percutaneous coronary interventions)
  • Cardiac surgery (including coronary artery bypass graft surgery)1

Iowa facilities include:

Facility Location Blue Distinction Center Blue Distinction Center +
Allen Memorial Hospital Waterloo No XTrue
Iowa Methodist Medical Center Belmond No XTrue
Mercy Hospital Mason City No XTrue
Mercy Medical Center Des Moines No XTrue
Mercy Medical Center Dubuque No XTrue
Mercy Medical Center North Iowa Mason City No XTrue
St. Luke's Methodist Hospital Cedar Rapids No XTrue

South Dakota facilities include:

Facility Location Blue Distinction Center Blue Distinction Center +
Sanford Medical Center Sioux Falls No XTrue

Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers® focus on facilities that offer comprehensive inpatient, adult cancer care programs for these types of cancer:

  • Acute leukemia (inpatient/non-surgical)
  • Bladder cancer
  • Bone cancer
  • Brain cancer - primary
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Gastric cancer
  • Head and neck cancers
  • Liver cancer
  • Ocular melanoma
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Soft tissue sarcomas
  • Thyroid cancer - medullary or anaplastic

Iowa facilities include:

Facility Location Cancer Types Plans Accepted
Iowa Methodist Medical Center (John Stoddard Cancer Center) Des Moines
  • Bladder
  • Esophageal
  • Gastric
  • Pancreatic
  • Rectal
Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa and PPO/Indemnity
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center) Iowa City
  • Bladder
  • Brain - Primary
  • Esophageal
  • Gastric
  • Head and Neck
  • Pancreatic
  • Bone
  • Ocular Melanoma
  • Rectal
  • Thyroid - Medullary and /or Anaplastic

Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa and PPO/Indemnity

Blue Distinction Centers for Knee and Hip ReplacementSM have demonstrated experience in comprehensive inpatient knee and hip replacement services, including total knee replacement and total hip replacement.

Iowa facilities include:

Facility Location Blue Distinction Center Blue Distinction Center +
Alegent Health Mercy Hospital Council Bluffs No XTrue
Allen Memorial Hospital Waterloo No XTrue
Covenant Medical Center Waterloo No XTrue
Genesis Health System Davenport No XTrue
Iowa Lutheran Hospital Des Moines No XTrue
Jennie Edmundson Memorial Hospital Council Bluffs No XTrue
Mercy Hospital Iowa City No XTrue
Mercy Medical Center Cedar Rapids No XTrue
Mercy Medical Center Des Moines No XTrue
Mercy Medical Center Dubuque No XTrue
Mercy Medical Center North Iowa Mason City No XTrue
Mercy Medical Center West Lakes West Des Moines No XTrue
Methodist West Hospital West Des Moines No XTrue
Sartori Memorial Hospital Cedar Falls No XTrue
St. Luke's Regional Medical Center Sioux City No XTrue
St. Luke's Methodist Hospital Cedar Rapids No XTrue
The Finley Hospital Dubuque No XTrue
Trinity Hospital Bettendorf No XTrue

South Dakota facilities include:

Facility Location Blue Distinction Center Blue Distinction Center +
Avera McKennan Sioux Falls No XTrue
Sanford USD Medical Center Sioux Falls No XTrue

Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care are hospitals recognized for delivering quality specialty care safely and effectively, based on objective measures developed with input from the medical community.

Iowa facilities include:

Facility Location Blue Distinction Center Blue Distinction Center +
Alegent Health Mercy Hospital Council Bluffs No XTrue
Allen Memorial Hospital Waterloo No XTrue
Covenant Medical Center Waterloo No XTrue
Finley Hospital Dubuque No XTrue
Fort Madison Community Hospital Fort Madison No XTrue
Genesis Health System Davenport No XTrue
Grinnell Regional Medical Center Grinnell No XTrue
Iowa Lutheran Hospital Des Moines XTrue No
Iowa Methodist Medical Center Des Moines No XTrue
Jennie Edmundson Memorial Hospital Council Bluffs No XTrue
Lakes Regional Healthcare Spirit Lake No XTrue
Mary Greeley Medical Center Ames No XTrue
Mercy Hospital Iowa City No XTrue
Mercy Medical Center Cedar Rapids No XTrue
Mercy Medical Center Clinton No XTrue
Mercy Medical Center Des Moines No XTrue
Mercy Medical Center Dubuque No XTrue
Mercy Medical Center North Iowa Mason City No XTrue
Mercy Medical Center West Lakes West Des Moines No XTrue
Methodist West Hospital West Des Moines No XTrue
St. Anthony Regional Hospital Carroll No XTrue
St. Luke's Methodist Hospital Cedar Rapids No XTrue
Trinity Hospital Bettendorf No XTrue
Trinity Hospital Muscatine No XTrue

South Dakota facilities include:

Facility Location Blue Distinction Center Blue Distinction Center +
Sioux Falls No XTrue
Avera Queen of Peace Hospital Mitchell XTrue No
Avera Sacred Heart Hospital Yankton No XTrue
Avera St. Juke's Aberdeen XTrue No
Prairie Lakes Health Care Center Watertown No XTrue
Sanford Aberdeen Medical Center Aberdeen No XTrue
Sanford Medical Center Sioux Falls No XTrue
St. Mary's Healthcare Center Pierre No XTrue
The Brookings Health System Brookings No XTrue

Facilities that have received the Blue Distinction Centers for Spine SurgerySM designation have demonstrated experience in comprehensive inpatient spine surgery services, including discectomy, fusion and decompression procedures.

Iowa facilities include:

Facility Location Blue Distinction Center Blue Distinction Center +
Allen Memorial Hospital Waterloo No XTrue
Genesis Health System Davenport No XTrue
Iowa Methodist Medical Center Des Moines No XTrue
Mercy Hospital Iowa City No XTrue
Mercy Medical Center Cedar Rapids No XTrue
Mercy Medical Center Des Moines No XTrue
Methodist West Hospital West Des Moines No XTrue
Trinity Hospital Bettendorf No XTrue

 

South Dakota facilities include:

Facility Location Blue Distinction Center Blue Distinction Center +
Avera McKennan Sioux Falls No XTrue
Sanford USD Medical Center Sioux Falls No XTrue

The Blue Distinction Centers for Transplants® program looks at eight types of transplants:

  • Heart
  • Lung (deceased and living donor; single or bilateral)
  • Combination heart bilateral lung
  • Liver (deceased and living donor)
  • Simultaneous pancreas kidney (SPK)
  • Pancreas (PAK/PTA)
  • Combination liver kidney
  • Bone marrow/stem cell (autologous & allogeneic)

Facility Location Blue Distinction Center Blue Distinction Center +
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Iowa City
  • Adult Heart
  • Adult Liver (deceased donor)
  • Adult Combination Liver-Kidney
  • Adult Lung (single & bilateral)
  • Adult Pancreas
  • Adult Simultaneous Pancreas-Kidney
  • Adult Autologous Bone Marrow/Stem Cell
  • Adult Allogeneic Bone Marrow/Stem Cell
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