Subtitle Hospitals earn designation through the Blue Distinction® Specialty Care program Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas has designated 16 of its contracting hospitals as Blue Distinction® Centers for Maternity Care as part of the national Blue Distinction Specialty Care program that recognizes hospitals for providing quality and affordable care. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated hospitals that show expertise in delivering improved patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community. The Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program evaluates hospitals on quality measures for vaginal and cesarean delivery. Named a Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care was Via Christi Hospitals, Wichita. To receive a Blue Distinction Centers+ designation, a hospital must meet the same quality criteria as Blue Distinction Centers while also meeting requirements for cost efficiency. Hospitals recognized as a Blue Distinction Center+ for Maternity Care are: • Atchison Hospital • Lawrence Memorial Hospital • Newman Regional Health, Emporia • Newton Medical Center • Ransom Memorial Hospital, Ottawa • Saint Luke's Cushing Hospital, Leavenworth • St. Catherine Hospital, Garden City • Salina Regional Health Center • Southwest Medical Center, Liberal • Stormont Vail Health, Topeka • Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital, El Dorado • Via Christi Hospital, Manhattan • Wesley Medical Center, Wichita • Western Plains Medical Complex, Dodge City • The University of Kansas Health Systems, St. Francis Campus, Topeka "Today there is much talk about 'quality' in health care and the role quality plays in overall outcomes, patient experience and costs," said Andrew C. Corbin, BCBSKS president/CEO. "These 16 hospitals are doing more than talking about quality. They are putting quality into action by meeting rigorous quality metrics in all phases of their maternity care programs and, in doing so, deliver better care for our members. That is why we are proud to recognize them as Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care." Nearly four million babies are born in the U.S. annually, making childbirth the most common cause of hospitalization, and cesarean sections the most common operating room procedure, according to National Centers for Health Statistics and the Agency for Health Care Research & Quality (AHRQ). Reducing early elective delivery is an area of focus for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). According to Health Affairs, elective inductions result in more cesarean deliveries and a longer maternal hospitalization. Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality specialty care in the areas of bariatric surgery, cancer care, cardiac care, maternity care, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery and transplants, while encouraging health care professionals to improve the care they deliver. Research shows that, compared to other hospitals, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients. On average, Blue Distinction Centers+ also are 20 percent more cost-efficient than non-Blue Distinction Center+ designated hospitals. For more information about the program, please visit bcbs.com/bluedistinction. About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas For 75 years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas has built a reputation of trust with its members and contracting providers by providing outstanding customer service while quickly and accurately processing claims; fairly administering benefit plans and contracts; offering programs, services and tools to help members improve or maintain their health; and operating under the highest ethical standards while being good stewards of premium dollars. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and is the state’s largest insurer, serving all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte. For more information, visit bcbsks.com.