(Utica, NY – Aug. 2013)  Excellus BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) has recognized St. Elizabeth Medical Center, a partner in Mohawk Valley Heart Institute, 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 Care program.

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 BlueDistinctionCenter+ 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+.  St. Elizabeth Medical Center is proud to be recognized by Excellus BCBS for meeting the rigorous cardiac care selection criteria set by the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program.

“St. Elizabeth Medical Center and the Mohawk Valley Heart Institute have been committed to providing high quality and cost-effective cardiology and cardiac surgery services to our community for many years,” said Albert D’Accurzio, M.D., Vice President of Medical Affairs at St. Elizabeth Medical Center.  “We are proud that the efforts of so many people have been recognized by Excellus BCBS. This designation, based on nationally recognized measures of quality and cost-efficiency, will reinforce the notion that high quality cardiac care is available at our community hospitals.”

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 healthcare 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.

“Congratulations to St. Elizabeth Medical Center for earning this designation,” said Frank Dubeck, M.D., medical director for Medical Policy, Excellus BCBS. “The Blue Distinction +  for Cardiac Care recognition continues our collaborations with local providers, as we jointly tackle issues such as improving quality of care and reducing hospital-acquired infections.”

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.

By martha

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