Patient Care

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Honors URMC for Excellent Cardiac Care

Jul. 14, 2013
Strong Memorial Hospital 1st in Rochester lauded for quality, cost-efficient cardiac procedures

The University of Rochester Medical Center today received Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield Blue DistinctionCenter+ SM designation for delivering quality and cost-efficient cardiac care, as part of the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care® program. URMC is the first and only center in the region to receive this recognition for cardiac care.

“Delivering high quality, cost effective care is our mission,” said Charles Lowenstein, M.D., chief of Cardiology and URMC’s Heart and Vascular Center. “We are pleased to be recognized for proven results in delivering improved outcomes, as well as greater affordability in clinical care.”

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.

To receive a Blue Distinction Center+ for Cardiac CareSM 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+.

“Congratulations to Strong Memorial Hospital for earning this designation,” said Martin Lustick, M.D., senior vice president, corporate medical director, 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.”

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 cardiac 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. URMC is also a Blue Distinction Center+ for spinal surgery and a Blue Distinction Center for transplant and complex and rare cancers.

URMC’s Heart and Vascular Center has the largest team of experts who work together to provide the most advanced and comprehensive care in the region. Doctors from across the region send their most challenging cases to URMC, which is also home to Upstate New York’s only heart failure and transplantation program.