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St. Elizabeth Medical Center Is Recognized for Quality in Cardiac Care

August 23, 2013

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) has recognized St. Elizabeth Medical Center, a partner in Mohawk Valley Heart Institute, 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+.  St. Elizabeth Medical Center is proud to be recognized by Excellus BCBS for meeting the rigorous cardiac care selection criteria set by the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program.

"St. Elizabeth Medical Center and the Mohawk Valley Heart Institute have been committed to providing high quality and cost-effective cardiology and cardiac surgery services to our community for many years,” said Albert D'Accurzio, M.D., Vice President of Medical Affairs at St. Elizabeth Medical Center.  “We are proud that the efforts of so many people have been recognized by Excellus BCBS. This designation, based on nationally recognized measures of quality and cost-efficiency, will reinforce the notion that high quality cardiac care is available at our community hospitals."

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 healthcare 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.

“Congratulations to St. Elizabeth Medical Center for earning this designation,” said Frank Dubeck, M.D., medical director for Medical Policy, Excellus BCBS. “The Blue Distinction +  for Cardiac Care recognition continues our collaborations with local providers, as we jointly tackle issues such as improving quality of care and reducing hospital-acquired infections.”

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 their website here.

St. Elizabeth Medical Center is a 201-bed, acute care hospital that offers cardiac surgery, angioplasty, cardiac catheterization, and electrophysiology and houses cardiac intensive care and special-care units under the umbrella of the Mohawk Valley Heart Institute (MVHI). The MVHI is collaboration between St. Elizabeth Medical Center and Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare that celebrated its 15th anniversary of cardiac services in October, 2012.  St. Elizabeth also offers both inpatient and outpatient services in numerous other specialties at multiple sites.

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to about 1.9 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. Learn more here.

Blue Distinction Centers® (BDC) met overall quality measures for patient safety and outcomes, developed with input from the medical community. Blue Distinction Centers+SM (BDC+) also met cost measures that address consumers’ need for affordable healthcare. Individual outcomes may vary. National criteria are displayed on A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for facilities located in its own service area. For details on Local Blue Plan Criteria, a provider’s in-network statuses, or your own policy’s coverage, contact your Local Blue Plan. Each hospital’s Cost Index is calculated with data from its Local Blue Plan. Hospitals in CA, ID, NY, PA, and WA may lie in two Local Blue Plans’ areas, resulting in two Cost Index figures; and their own Local Blue Plans decide whether one or both Cost Index figures must meet BDC+ national criteria. Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for damages or non-covered charges resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers.


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