UNC Hospitals recognized for quality in cardiac care

Hospital among first to receive new designation for delivering quality and cost-efficient cardiac procedures

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has recognized UNC Hospitals as one of the first hospitals in the nation to receive a Blue Distinction Center+SM designation in the area of cardiac care, as part of the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care® program.  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.

In 2006, the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program was developed to help patients find quality providers for their specialty care needs while encouraging healthcare professionals to improve the care they deliver.  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+.  UNC Hospitals is proud to be recognized by BCBSNC for meeting the rigorous cardiac care selection criteria set by the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program.

“UNC Hospitals is dedicated to making our cardiac care among the best in the country, and this designation is a testament to the diligence of our entire heart and vascular team.  We are committed to providing the highest quality cardiac care as safely and efficiently as possible,” said Cam Patterson, MD, Physician-in-Chief of the UNC Center for Heart and Vascular Care and Chief of the UNC Division of Cardiology.  “We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in improving the outcomes of our cardiac patients.”

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.

“We are pleased to be working with hospitals that share our commitment to high quality care in North Carolina,” said Lisa Cade, vice president of network management for BCBSNC. “Through the Blue Distinction Specialty Care Program, customers are able to take control of their health and find great care at a reasonable price.”

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 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.  For more information about the program and for a complete listing of the designated facilities, please visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction.


About the UNC Health Care and the UNC Center for Heart and Vascular Care:
The UNC Health Care System is a not-for-profit integrated health care system owned by the State of North Carolina and based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It exists to further the teaching mission of the University of North Carolina and to provide state-of-the-art patient care at modern hospitals for children, women, neurologic and psychiatric patients, cancer, and general adult patient care.  The Center for Heart and Vascular Care at UNC encompasses all clinical care of patients with cardiovascular diseases. The physicians are a collaborative group of vascular and cardiac surgeons, cardiologists, and vascular interventional radiologists, joined by a dedicated nursing staff and support personnel.  For more information, please visit the Center for Heart and Vascular Care’s website at www.uncheartandvascular.org.  For more information about UNC Health Care, please visit www.unchealthcare.org.

About BCBSNC:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.74 million members, including approximately 1 million served on behalf of other Blue Plans. For generations, the company has served its customers by offering health insurance at a competitive price and has served the people of North Carolina through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina was recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Institute in 2012 and 2013. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit BCBSNC online at bcbsnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

About BCBSA:
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.
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