Soon-to-be parents have a new way to identify hospitals that deliver quality,
affordable maternity care. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
(BCBSNC) recently announced that Iredell Memorial Hospital has been designated
as one of the first hospitals to receive the Blue Distinction Center+
for Maternity Care designation, a new designation under the Blue Distinction
Specialty Care program.
Research shows that compared to other facilities, those designated as Blue
Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for
patients. On average, Blue Distinction Centers+ are also 20 percent more
cost-efficient than non-Blue Distinction Center+ designated health care
Nearly 4 million babies are born in the U.S. annually, making childbirth
the most common cause of hospitalization. This new Blue Distinction Centers+
for Maternity Care program evaluates hospitals on several quality measures,
including the percentage of newborns that fall into the category of early
elective delivery, an ongoing concern in the medical community. Compared
with babies born 39 weeks or later, early term infants face higher risks
of infant death and respiratory ailments such as respiratory distress
syndrome, pneumonia, and respiratory failure, among other conditions.
These babies also have a higher rate of admission to Neonatal Intensive
In addition, hospitals that receive a Blue Distinction Center+ for Maternity
Care designation agreed to meet requirements that align with principles
that support evidence-based practices of care, as well as having initiated
programs to promote successful breastfeeding, as described in the Baby-Friendly
Hospital Initiative by Baby-Friendly USA or the Mother-Friendly Hospital
program by the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) through
its “10 Steps of Mother Friendly Care.” The program also evaluates
hospitals on overall patient satisfaction, including a willingness to
recommend the hospital to others.
Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care, an expansion of the national
Blue Distinction® Specialty Care program, are hospitals recognized
for delivering quality, affordable specialty care safely and effectively,
based on objective measures developed with input from the medical community.
To receive a Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care designation,
a hospital must also meet requirements for cost efficiency.
“We are very proud to be recognized for the exceptionally safe, quality
care that our staff and physicians provide for our maternity patients,”
said Becky Quate, Vice President of Nursing for Iredell Health System.
“This designation validates that the care provided at Iredell is
cost effective, supports evidenced-based practices such as our breastfeeding
initiatives, and our patients validate our care through our high patient
satisfaction scores. We are very honored to be recognized by BCBS to receive
the Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care designation.”
“We’re doing the homework for our customers by putting a spotlight
on hospitals and facilities that offer high quality services at a fair
price.” said Dr. Brian Caveney, chief medical officer of BCBSNC.
“With health care costs continuing to rise, patients want to know
how much value they are getting for their health care dollar. Identifying
which providers meet or exceed industry standards is an important part
of that equation.”
Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies across the nation have recognized
more than 650 hospitals as Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care.
Hospitals recognized for these designations were assessed using a combination
of publicly available quality information and cost measures derived from
BCBS companies’ medical claims.
Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients
find quality providers for their specialty care needs in the areas of
bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip
replacements, spine surgery and transplants.
For more information, please contact Meagan Kowalski at 704.878.7447 or
through the website
contact us form.