Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi announces Blue Distinction Centers of Excellence

March 5, 2013

Health Care

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Blue Cross & Blue Shield has recognized four Mississippi hospitals with Blue Distinction Centers of Excellence for knee & hip Replacement and spine surgery.

The state’s leading health and wellness company announces that Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg, Baptist Medical Center in Jackson, North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, and St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson have met stringent criteria focused on patient safety and clinical outcomes.

From the release:

“The Blue Distinction Centers of Excellence program recognizes those Network Hospitals and their physicians that demonstrate high levels of performance in delivering quality specialty care to their patients safely, efficiently and in a cost-effective manner,” said Dr. Thomas Fenter, Chief Medical Officer for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi. “The Centers of Excellence program highlights the commitment and overall results of these hospitals and surgeons.”

Centers of Excellence are Network Providers that specialize in certain illness and/or treatments. Centers of Excellence must first be designated as Blue Distinction Centers by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, based on national criteria around quality, cost and total value, and then meet additional criteria as defined by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi.

By providing access to quality, cost effective Network Providers, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi encourages Mississippians to take ownership of their health and make educated healthcare choices. The health and wellness company is working to develop meaningful and proven provider quality benchmarks that will be used to evaluate the quality and cost of care of any Network Provider. Quality benchmarks are being designed to advance quality process improvements, reduce variation in care and enhance the patient experience within the hospital and clinic settings. By implementing programs that progressively raise the bar on provider quality, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi is providing Mississippians access to quality Network Providers who practice evidence-based medicine, with the overall goal of healthier Mississippians.

“Participation in this new program by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield organization is a significant achievement and recognizes excellence in surgical care in these areas,” said Dr. Mark Williams, Chief Medical Officer with North Mississippi Health Systems. “Pursuit of this recognition is evidence of NMMC’s commitment to continuous improvement in patient care, safety and outcomes. NMMC is one of only a few hospitals in Mississippi to meet the rigorous requirements of the Blue Distinction program.

“NMMC’s investment as a Blue Distinction Center of Excellence also represents an ongoing commitment to serve the needs of an expanding regional population, and to work closely with partners such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield in assuring truly excellent care,” Dr. Williams said.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi recognizes that collaboration with its Network Providers is critical in ensuring that providers and healthcare companies share the same goals of improving care for patients. By focusing on quality, the aim is to reduce unnecessary complications and admissions, thereby, the cost of unnecessary healthcare can be avoided and overall wellness is a priority. “While each Network Provider’s approach to quality may be different, we value the work that all of our Network Hospitals and Network Physicians are doing when it comes to overall quality healthcare improvement and will continue to recognize those sharing our goals of a healthier Mississippi,” said Dr. Fenter.

“These designations demonstrate that Baptist’s physicians, nurses and staff are providing our patients with high quality care through successful clinical outcomes, patient safety and excellent customer service,” said Mississippi Baptist Medical Center President Kerry Tirman, JD, MBA, FACHE. “This distinction recognizes our efforts with regard to quality care, particularly for those who need treatment for diseases or injuries of the hip, knee and spine.”

“The Blue Distinction reinforces our commitment and efforts to provide the highest levels of care and is a credit to the focus on each patient by our physicians and staff,” said Lester K. Diamond, FACHE, President of St. Dominic Hospital. “Our teams have been using some of the most advanced protocols and technology to improve the overall quality of care in our community and achieve better results for our patients.”

Research confirms that the newly designated Blue Distinction Centers of Excellence demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients, with lower rates of complications and readmissions than their peers.

“When patients are facing surgery such as a joint replacement or complex spine procedure, they want to know that they are choosing the right facility to receive their care,” said Forrest Health President and CEO Evan Dillard. “The Blue Distinction from Blue Cross Blue Shield gives patients peace of mind in knowing that they are choosing a healthcare provider with a proven track record of success in specific areas. Forrest General is very proud to be recognized with the Blue Distinction in both orthopedics and spine surgery as an added reassurance for patients who are entrusting their care to our physicians and staff.”

The Blue Distinction Center of Excellence designation is one component of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi’s quality of care partnership with its Network Providers, and illustrates that quality and cost-effective healthcare choices for improved health are what the “Value of Blue” represents to Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi members.

Source: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi

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About Stephen McDill

Stephen McDill joined the Mississippi Business Journal in 2008 after working in radio and television. He is a graduate of Belhaven University and has won awards for his writing and photojournalism from the Associated Press and Mississippi Press Association.

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