Iowa Ortho hospital affiliates, MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center and Pella Regional Health Center, have been designated as Blue Distinction® Centers+ by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield. MercyOne has received the designation for both spine surgery and joint replacement surgery and Pella for joint replacement surgery. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated providers who show expertise in delivering high-quality patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community and leading accreditation and quality organizations.
Spine Surgery Distinction:
Spinal surgeries are among the most common and expensive elective surgeries in the U.S., according to the government-based Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which creates a significant opportunity to improve quality and value within the health care system. For example, there were more than 463,000 spinal fusion operations in the U.S. in 2014, and hospital costs for a fusion procedure average $28,9001, according to AHRQ.
Facilities designated as Blue Distinction Centers for Spine Surgery demonstrate expertise in cervical and lumbar fusion, cervical laminectomy and lumbar laminectomy/discectomy procedures, resulting in fewer patient complications and readmissions compared to other facilities. In addition to meeting these quality thresholds, hospitals designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ are, on average, 20 percent more cost-efficient in an episode of care compared to their peers.
“Being named a Wellmark Blue Distinction Center+ highlights the trust and confidence our patients have in the Spine Surgery department that we have developed at MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center,” stated Spine Surgeon Trevor Schmitz, MD.
Joint Replacement Distinction:
Knee and hip replacement procedures remain some of the most commonly performed, elective surgical procedures in the U.S., according to a 2018 study released by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. In 2014, there were 370,770 total hip replacements and 680,150 total knee replacements.
Facilities 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 readmissions. In addition to meeting these quality thresholds, facilities designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ are, on average, 20 percent more cost-efficient in an episode of care compared to their peers.
“For those of us on the joint replacement team at MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center and Pella Regional Health Center, it is an honor to be recognized for our commitment to our patients and their surgical outcomes,” said orthopedic surgeon Mark Matthes, MD.
MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center and Pella Regional Medical Center are proud to be recognized by Wellmark for meeting the robust selection criteria set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.
The Blue Distinction Specialty Care program remains a valuable and trusted source for patients seeking quality care in the areas of bariatric surgery, cancer care, cardiac care, cellular immunotherapy, fertility care, gene therapy, knee and hip replacements, maternity care, spine surgery, substance use treatment and recovery and transplants.
For more information about the program and for a complete listing of designated facilities, visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction.