Blue Cross and Blue Shield Spearheads Initiative to Improve Healthcare Quality, Increase Cost Efficiency

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) announced today that its Blue Distinction designation is demonstrating meaningful differences in healthcare outcomes and value, through collaboration with employer groups, providers and medical organizations to provide consumers with important quality information.


Blue Distinction is a nationwide program that recognizes medical facilities that meet objective, evidence-based thresholds for clinical quality developed in collaboration with expert physicians and medical organizations. This designation provides consumers with a credible, easily identifiable means of selecting facilities that best meet their individual specialty care needs. To date, more than 800 Blue Distinction designations for specialty care have been awarded in 45 states and the District of Columbia in the areas of bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers and transplants.


Blue Distinction Centers for Cardiac Care® were awarded the designation because they met rigorous selection criteria that aim to significantly raise healthcare quality in America. A recent study, conducted by HealthCore, Inc., a subsidiary of WellPoint, Inc., confirmed that readmission rates for certain procedures performed at Blue Distinction Centers for Cardiac Care were lower than those performed at other hospitals for Blue Cross and Blue Shield patients. Specifically, the study found that patients of the Centers experienced:

•· 26 percent lower readmission rates for bypass surgery and 37 percent lower for outpatient angioplasty, based on 30-day cardiac-related readmission rates

•· 21 percent lower readmission rates for bypass surgery and 32 percent lower for outpatient angioplasty based on 90-day cardiac-related readmission rates

•· lower costs, 5 percent less for bypass procedures or 12 percent less for outpatient angioplasty with a 90-day episode of care.


See the news release.


(SOURCE: The Commonwealth Fund e-Alert,, November 13, 2008)