Highmark Blue Shield has recognized Good Samaritan Health System 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.
To receive this 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. Only those facilities that first meet Blue Distinction’s nationally established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation.
“Good Samaritan is proud to be recognized for meeting the rigorous cardiac care selection criteria set by the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program,” stated Jacquelyn Gould, Vice President, Patient Care Services/Chief Nursing Officer. “We are committed to delivering the most comprehensive and highest quality cardiac care to our community.”
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 U.S. 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.
“This program supports Highmark’s consumerism approach to give members a greater hand in their health by providing tools to help members make informed choices about their health care,” said Carey Vinson, M.D., Vice President for Quality and Performance Management at Highmark Blue Shield. “The Blue Distinction Centers designation offers members reliable quality-based information pertaining to Blue network-participating facilities when selecting a provider.”
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.
For 124 years, the Good Samaritan Health System (www.gshleb.org) has served the health care needs of Lebanon County. The Good Samaritan Hospital is a modern, fully-equipped, fully-accredited 172-bed acute care facility that offers complete inpatient and outpatient care, as well as an inpatient rehabilitation program. The Good Samaritan Health System also provides services at many other sites located throughout Lebanon County.