In an effort to help prospective parents find hospitals that deliver quality, affordable maternity care, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska announced that Faith Regional Health Services 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.
Nearly four 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 Care Units.
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 “Ten 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 appreciative of this recognition bestowed upon us by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska,” said Barb Petersen, director of Women and Children’s Services at Faith Regional Health Services. “We are highly engaged in providing the highest quality, evidence-based maternity care for the region. Along with our interdisciplinary team, we recognize the need to partner with our community to meet their specific needs and provide care at a reasonable cost. This designation validates our commitment to quality and cost effectiveness and offers direction to those seeking medical care in our region.”
“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska is excited to announce that Faith Regional Health Services has been designated a Blue Distinction Center+ for a newly created program that recognizes outstanding Maternity Care. This designation indicates the facility meets nationally recognized standards for high quality care with the additional criteria of doing this cost efficiently. We’re pleased to offer our members the opportunity to select from high performing facilities that can meet their maternity care needs during their pregnancy and following their delivery.” Deb Esser, MD, BCBSNE Quality Medical Director said.
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. 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 facilities.
For more information about the program, visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction.