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Five Allegheny Health Network Hospitals Earn Blue Distinction® Center+ Designation for Quality and Cost-Efficiency in Knee and Hip Replacement Surgeries

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield has awarded five Allegheny Health Network (AHN) facilities Blue Distinction® Center+ designation for Knee and Hip Replacement, part of the national Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Allegheny General, Allegheny Valley, Canonsburg, Forbes and Saint Vincent hospitals received the recognition.

Blue Distinction Centers are healthcare facilities shown to deliver improved patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community.

Knee and hip replacement procedures are among the fastest growing medical treatments in the U.S., according to studies published in the June 2014 Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

In 2010, the estimated cost of hip replacements averaged $17,500 and the estimated cost of knee replacements averaged $16,000, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Hospitals designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ for Knee and Hip Replacement demonstrate expertise in total knee and total hip replacement surgeries, resulting in fewer patient complications and hospital readmissions. Designated hospitals must also maintain national accreditation. In addition to meeting these quality thresholds, hospitals designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ are, on average, 20 percent more cost-efficient than other hospitals. Only those facilities that first meet nationally established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation as a Blue Distinction Center+.

“The Orthopaedic Institute at AHN strives to provide world-class care for patients requiring hip and knee replacement,” said Patrick J. DeMeo, MD, Chair, AHN Orthopaedic Institute. “We are extremely gratified to receive Blue Distinction Center+ status and are proud of this acknowledgement of our team’s success in delivering excellent care that improves our patients’ quality of life.”
 
AHN’s Orthopaedic Institute is a leader in joint replacement, offering state-of-the art technology and progressive surgical approaches. AHN was the first medical center in the region to offer robotic-assisted joint replacement surgery and its surgeons specialize in the use of innovative technology that enables optimal placement of new joints. AHN’s joint replacement team also leads the region in the use of advanced pain management strategies and muscle sparing surgical methods that facilitate same-day discharge joint replacement in appropriate candidates, leading to less pain, fewer complications and a faster recovery.

Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality providers for their specialty care needs while encouraging healthcare professionals to improve the care they deliver.

“Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield extends its sincere congratulations to these Allegheny Health Network hospitals for their dedication to providing the quality, patient safety and transparency that is required to achieve this great distinction,” said Mark Piasio, MD, Medical Director, Clinical Services, Highmark Inc. “With consumer-driven healthcare programs like Blue Distinction, and the significant effort of our partner practitioners and facilities, Highmark can now enable our members with the opportunity to make wise, value-driven healthcare decisions.”

About Blue Distinction Centers

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 facilities 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 health care. Each facility’s cost of care is evaluated using data from its Local Blue Plan. Facilities 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 bcbs.com. 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.