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BIDMC Cited for Quality, Cost Efficiency


BIDMC Among Massachusetts Leaders in Blue Distinction for combining quality and cost efficiency.

BOSTON - Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) topped the list among Massachusetts hospitals in Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts' (BCBSMA) Blue Distinction ® designation of hospitals making a difference in health care outcomes and value.

BIDMC won the designation for its efforts in Bariatric Surgery, Cardiac Care, Complex and Rare Cancers, and Bone Marrow, Stem Cell and/or Allogeneiac Transplants. The medical center was among 16 Massachusetts hospitals designated by the state's largest health insurer in a process that involved collaborating with employer groups, providers, and specialty medical societies.

"BIDMC has focused intensively on providing high quality, well coordinated care in these specialized service lines, and it is gratifying to see these efforts manifesting as better outcomes for our patients," said Kenneth Sands, MD, senior vice president of health care quality.

Blue Distinction is a nationwide program that recognizes medical facilities that meet a national set of objective, evidence-based thresholds for clinical quality developed in collaboration with expert clinicians and leading medical organizations. This designation provides consumers with a credible, easily identifiable means of selecting facilities that best meet their individual specialty care needs.

Nationally, more than 800 Blue Distinction designations have been awarded.

A recent study, conducted by HealthCore, Inc., a subsidiary of WellPoint, Inc., confirmed that readmission rates for certain procedures performed at Blue Distinction ® Centers for Cardiac Care SM were lower than those performed at other hospitals for Blue Cross Blue Shield patients. Specifically, the study found that patients of the centers experienced:

  • 26 percent lower readmission rates for bypass surgery and 37 percent lower for outpatient angioplasty, based on 30-day cardiac-related readmission rates;
  • 21 percent lower readmission rates for bypass surgery and 32 percent lower for outpatient angioplasty based on 90-day cardiac-related readmission rates
  • lower costs, with a 90-day episode of care for both bypass procedures and outpatient angioplasty less than in non-designated facilities (5 percent less for bypass procedures and 12 percent less for outpatient angioplasty).

The HealthCore data are based on a claims analysis of 24 Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, including BCBSMA, to measure outcome and cost for patients treated at BDC-designated facilities compared to other facilities where cardiac care is provided.

"BCBSMA is committed to delivering on our promise of high quality, more affordable health care by working to eliminate the overuse, under use, and misuse of health care services. Blue Distinction is another way we demonstrate this commitment," said BCBSMA Chief Physician Executive John Fallon, MD.

"Based on clinical data from hospitals and registries, research indicates that Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better, more consistent overall outcome with fewer post-procedure complications and lower mortality rates," Fallon said.

The analysis includes 41,333 patients treated within a facility setting, 22,322 of which were treated at BDC-designated facilities and 19,011 at other facilities. The analysis is based on cardiac events and procedures occurring during calendar year 2006, with follow-up in 2007.

Other data show that Blue Distinction Centers for Transplants ® also are demonstrating highly successful patient outcomes. The 1-year mortality rate for adult heart transplants is 11 percent in BDCs, compared to 19 percent at non-BDCs, according to an analysis of BCBSA RFI response data, as well as data from the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients.

BCBSMA launched Blue Distinction in 2007 with the Blue Distinction Centers for Cardiac Care. In 2008, the health insurer launched three Blue Distinction programs: Transplants, Complex and Rare Cancers and Bariatric Surgery. Due to the high level of success that BDCs have seen with regard to quality outcomes and value, Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are in the process of expanding the program to additional specialty areas.

Medical facilities apply to BCBSA to become Blue Distinction Centers. The criteria were developed in partnership with: American Society for Metabolic Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS); Surgical Review Corporation (SRC); American College of Cardiology (ACC); Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS); Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR); Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT); and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN).

The Massachusetts designations include:

Bay State Medical Center


Bariatric Surgery, Cardiac Care

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center


Bariatric Surgery, Cardiac Care, Complex and Rare Cancers, Transplants-Bone Marrow, Stem Cell and/or Allogeneiac

Boston Medical Center


Bariatric Surgery, Cardiac Care

Brigham & Women's Hospital


Bariatric Surgery, Cardiac Care

Cape Cod Hospital


Cardiac Care

Caritas St. Elizabeth's Hospital


Cardiac Care

Dana Farber-Brigham & Women's Cancer Center


Complex and Rare Cancers

Faulkner Hospital

Jamaica Plan

Bariatric Surgery

Lahey Clinic


Bariatric Surgery, Cardiac Care, Complex and Rare Cancers

Lawrence Memorial Hospital


Bariatric Surgery

Massachusetts General Hospital


Bariatric Surgery, Cardiac Care

Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center


Complex and Rare Cancers

Mount Auburn Hospital


Cardiac Care

Newton -Wellesley Hospital


Bariatric Surgery

North Shore Medical Center


Cardiac Care

Tufts Medical Center


Cardiac Care, Transplants-Liver

Winchester Hospital


Bariatric Surgery

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts ( was founded 72 years ago by a group of community-minded business leaders. Today, headquartered in Boston, BCBSMA provides coverage to approximately 3 million members. BCBSMA believes in rewarding doctors and hospitals for delivering safe and effective care, and in empowering patients to take more responsibility, become educated health care consumers and become stronger partners with their doctors. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. .

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and consistently ranks among the top four in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information, visit .