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Blue Distinction Program Overview

Blue Distinction Program Overview


Blue Distinction is raising the quality of care being delivered across the country by recognizing facilities that meet objective, evidence-based thresholds for clinical quality developed in collaboration with expert clinicians and leading professional organizations.

"Blue Distinction promotes the consistent practice of evidence-based medicine," said Allan Korn, M.D., and chief medical officer for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.  "The Blues are committed to working collaboratively with physicians and hospitals to raise the overall quality of healthcare in our nation.  The Blue Distinction designation identifies institutions that lead the way in delivering quality outcomes."

These institutions are referred to as Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care® and provide consumers with a credible, easily identifiable means of selecting facilities that meet their individual specialty care needs.  To date, Blue companies have designated nearly 800 Blue Distinction Centers across 42 states in the areas of Cardiac Care, Bariatric Surgery, Transplants, and Complex and Rare Cancers.

The nationally-consistent selection criteria used to evaluate facilities for Blue Distinction designations have been developed in partnership with third-party organizations, including:*

Blue Distinction Centers for Cardiac Care®

  • American College of Cardiology (ACC)
  • Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS)

Blue Distinction Centers for Bariatric Surgery®

  • American Society for Metabolic Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS)
  • Surgical Review Corporation (SRC)

Blue Distinction Centers for Transplants®

  • Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR)
  • Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR)
  • Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT)

Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers®

  • National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)

Blue companies work proactively with facilities that do not initially achieve the Blue Distinction designation, providing report cards indicating areas for quality improvement to help them qualify as Blue Distinction Centers.  To ensure ongoing quality, facilities are also re-evaluated on a regular basis.  These efforts help ensure that we are expanding the pool of providers who meet data-driven quality thresholds, and helping consumers to find facilities offering better overall outcomes.

In a demonstration of our commitment to transparency, the detailed selection criteria utilized in designating facilities are publicly available. View these selection criteria or for additional details on Blue Distinction here.

* These organizations have provided information and input, but do not formally endorse the Blue Distinction Centers program.

Note: Designation as Blue Distinction Centers means these facilities' overall experience and aggregate data met objective criteria established in collaboration with expert clinicians' and leading professional organizations' recommendations.  Individual outcomes may vary.  To find out which services are covered under your policy at any facilities, please call your local Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield Plan; and call your provider before making an appointment, to verify the most current information on its Network participation and Blue Distinction status.  Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any of its Licensees are responsible for any damages, losses, or non-covered charges that may result from using this website or receiving care from a provider listed in this website.