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Spine Surgery Program recognized as Blue Distinction Center+

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Blue Distinction Center Spine SurgeryThe Spine Surgery Program at UI Health is the latest service at the organization to be recognized by the Blue Distinction Program from Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS).

The Spine Program was recognized as a Blue Distinction Center+ (BDC+) by BCBS.

Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated healthcare facilities that show a commitment to safely and effectively delivering quality specialty care, including improved patient safety and better health outcomes. The BDC+ designation also emphasizes a center's focus on cost-of-care measures. 

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 healthcare system. (As an example, there were more than 463,000 spinal fusion operations in the U.S. in 2014, and hospital costs for a fusion procedure average $28,900, according to AHRQ.) 

Facilities designated as BDC+ 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, facilities designated as BDC+ are on average 20% more cost-efficient in an episode of care compared to other facilities.  

Previously, UI Health has been recognized by the Blue Distinction Program for a number of care specialties, including: 

  • Adult Deceased Donor Liver Transplant
  • Adult Pancreas Transplant
  • Adult Autologous/Allogeneic Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant
  • Bariatric Surgery
  • Knee & Hip Replacement
  • Maternity Care
  • Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility