CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee congratulates nineteen hospitals in Tennessee for being recognized by the Blue Distinction Centers+ for Specialty Care® program in the areas of Spine Surgery or Knee and Hip Replacement.

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 Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care® program expanded recently to include new cost-efficiency measures, as well as more robust quality measures focused on improved patient health and safety. Nineteen hospitals are being recognized as Blue Distinction Centers+ for their expertise in quality and cost efficiency in delivering specialty care. Quality is key: only those facilities that first meet Blue Distinction’s nationally established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation as Blue Distinction Centers+.

“It’s so important for our communities to have care choices that they know offer high quality but that are also operating efficiently,” said Dr. Inga Himelright, chief medical officer for BlueCross. “By selecting one of the Blue Distinction hospitals, our members can be reassured that their medical care is in good hands.”

Research confirms that these newly designated 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 20 percent more cost-efficient. The program provides consumers with tools to help them make better informed health care decisions. These results will also enable employers, working with their local Blue Plan, to tailor benefits to meet their individual quality and cost objectives.

The following hospitals are recognized for their expertise and efficiency in delivering specialty care:

Baptist Hospital Inc, Nashville

Baptist Memorial Hospital Memphis, Memphis

Blount Memorial Hospital, Maryville

Bristol Regional Medical Center, Bristol

Centennial Medical Center, Nashville

Erlanger Medical Center, Chattanooga

Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, Knoxville

Holston Valley Hospital and Medical Center, Kingsport

Johnson City Medical Center Hospital, Johnson City

Maury Regional Hospital, Columbia

Memorial Hospital, Chattanooga

Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge, Oak Ridge

Methodist Memphis Healthcare, Memphis

Middle Tennessee Medical Center, Murfreesboro

Saint Francis Hospital, Memphis

Saint Thomas Hospital, Nashville

St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis

University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville

Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville

For more information about the Blue Distinction Program and to see a list of Blue Distinction Centers in your area, please visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction.

About BlueCross®

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 38 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for 100 million members – one-in-three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit www.BCBS.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.

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 BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at www.bcbst.com.