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Mercy Medical Center - Des Moines receives Blue Distinction® Center Plus designation for quality

Blue Distinction ® designation helps consumers to identify high-performing hospitals

Friday, February 22, 2013

DES MOINES, Iowa–Wellmark® Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® has named Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines as a Blue Distinction Center Plus (+) in the areas of Spine Surgery and Knee and Hip Replacement. The Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care® program is a national designation awarded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies to medical facilities that have demonstrated expertise in delivering quality specialty care – and has recently expanded to include more robust quality measures focused on improved patient health and safety as well as new cost-efficiency measures.

Since 2006, consumers, medical providers and employers have relied on the Blue Distinction program to identify hospitals delivering quality care in Bariatric Surgery, Cardiac Care, Complex and Rare Cancers, Knee and Hip Replacements, Spine Surgery, and Transplants. The selection criteria used to evaluate facilities were developed with input from the medical community, and include general quality and safety metrics plus program specific metrics. Mercy Des Moines is proud to have met the rigorous selection criteria set by the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program.

Mercy provides joint replacement at the Central Campus and Mercy Medical Center West Lakes. Mercy is also central Iowa’s only hospital to offer Joint Camp, an innovative rehabilitation program that speeds recovery time for joint replacement patients.

"The Blue Distinction Center designation places a high value on research and evidence-based health outcomes,” said Timothy Gutshall, M.D., Wellmark Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. “It also celebrates and affirms the excellence and commitment of the physicians and staff of these health systems in combining state-of-the-art surgery with state-of-the-art care.”

Research confirms that the newly designated Blue Distinction Centers and Blue Distinction Centers+ demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients, with lower rates of complications and readmissions than their peers. Blue Distinction Centers+ are also more than 20 percent more cost-efficient. The program provides consumers with tools to help them make better informed healthcare decisions, and these results enable employers, working with their local Blue Plan, to tailor benefits to meet their individual quality objectives.


About Blue Distinction® Centers

Blue Distinction® Centers met overall quality measures for patient safety and outcomes, developed with input from the medical community. Blue Distinction® Centers+ also met cost measures that address consumers’ need for affordable healthcare. Individual outcomes may vary. National criteria is displayed on www.bcbs.com.  A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for facilities located in its own service area.  To find out which services and providers (including hospital based physicians) are covered under your policy, or to learn about Local Blue Plan Criteria, contact your Local Blue Plan; and contact your provider before making an appointment to verify its current Network and Blue Distinction Centers status. Each hospital’s Cost Index is calculated separately, based on data from its Local Blue Plan. Hospitals in portions of CA, ID, NY, PA, and WA may lie in areas served by two Local Blue Plans, resulting in two Cost Index figures; and their own Local Blue Plans decide whether all hospitals in these areas must meet Blue Distinction Centers+ national criteria for one or both Cost Index figures. Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for damages, losses, or non-covered charges resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers.  To find out more, contact your Local Blue Plan.


About Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines

Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines is an 802-bed acute care, not-for-profit Catholic hospital situated on three campuses. Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1893, Mercy is the longest continually operating hospital in Des Moines and one of the largest employers in the state, with nearly 6,900 employees and a medical staff of more than 1000 physicians and allied health professionals. Mercy Medical Center–Des Moines is part of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), a national nonprofit health organization with headquarters in Denver, Colo. The faith-based system operates in 19 states and includes 76 hospitals; 40 long-term care, assisted- and residential-living facilities; two community health services organizations; two accredited nursing colleges; and home health agencies. For more information, visit www.mercydesmoines.org.


About Wellmark

Wellmark, Inc. (www.wellmark.com ) does business as Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. Wellmark and its subsidiaries and affiliated companies, including Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc., insure or pay health benefit claims for more than 2 million members in Iowa and South Dakota. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota, and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

For more information, contact:

Gregg Lagan, Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines
Phone: 515-247-3050
Email: glagan@mercydesmoines.org

Traci McBee, Wellmark Media Relations 
Phone: 515-376-4338
Email: mcbeet@wellmark.com

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