Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois has recognized Rush University Medical Center as one of the first hospitals in the nation to receive a Blue Distinction Center+ designation in the area of cardiac care, as part of the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Careprogram. Blue Distinction Centers are hospitals shown to deliver quality specialty care based on objective, transparent measures for patient safety and health outcomes that were developed with input from the medical community.
This year, the national program has added a new designation level, Blue Distinction Centers+, to recognize hospitals that deliver both quality and cost-efficient specialty care.
In 2006, the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program was developed to help patients find quality providers for their specialty care needs while encouraging healthcare professionals to improve the care they deliver. To receive a Blue Distinction Center+ for Cardiac Care designation, a hospital must demonstrate success in meeting both general quality and safety criteria (such as preventing hospital-acquired infections) and cardiac-specific quality measures (related to lower rates of complications and death following cardiac surgery; and non-surgical procedures, such as cardiac stent placement) and, additionally, must show better cost efficiency relative to their peers.
Quality is key: only those facilities that first meet Blue Distinction’s nationally established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation as a Blue Distinction Center+. Rush University Medical Center was recognized by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois for meeting the rigorous cardiac care selection criteria set by the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program.
“Rush has adapted and incorporated complex minimally invasive cardiac surgery techniques, to improve outcomes and minimize complications. Rush cardiac surgery has established a comprehensive care model using multi-disciplinary team rounds and a personalized approach to patients,” said Dr. Jaishankar Raman, chief of the section of adult cardiac surgery, surgical director of the heart transplant and VAD program, and professor of surgery, at Rush University Medical Center.
“The prompt implementation of mechanical circulatory support has dramatically improved heart failure outcomes to make Rush one of the top performers in the nation.”
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming nearly 600,000 lives each year. Cardiac procedures, including bypass and cardiac stent placement, are among the most common major medical procedures provided by the US health care system, with more than 1 million procedures performed annually. These cardiac related procedures cost the nation more than $28 billion annually. The Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program seeks to reduce this burden, by empowering patients with the knowledge and tools to find both quality and value for their cardiac care needs.
Research shows that Blue Distinction Centers+ demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients, with lower rates of complications following certain cardiac procedures and lower rates of healthcare associated infections, compared with their peers. Blue Distinction Centers+ are also 20 percent more cost-efficient for those same procedures.
The Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program identifies hospitals delivering quality care in bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery, and transplants. These specialty areas comprise approximately 30 percent of inpatient hospital expenditures.
In addition, Rush has received Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery and for Knee and Hip Replacement in January 2013.
For more information about the program and for a complete listing of the designated facilities, please visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction.