News & Communications | Press Releases

Joint Program Designated ‘Blue Distinction+’ for Quality, Cost-Efficiency

Date:  February 27th, 2013

Contact/Phone:  Mary Muhlbradt
(701)857-5116, Fax: (701)857-5683

e-mail:   Mary Muhlbradt

All Press Releases

(MINOT, ND)—The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) in conjunction with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota has designated Trinity Hospital a Blue Distinction Center+ (plus) for Knee and Hip Replacement, a newly expanded designation.

Established in 2006, the Blue Distinction program has given patients, medical providers and employers a means to identify hospitals that deliver high quality care in several specialty areas, including knee and hip replacement.  BCBSA recently announced the expansion of Blue Distinction to include new cost-efficiency measures (the “plus”), as well as more robust quality measures focused on improved patient health and safety.

Trinity President/CEO John M. Kutch says he's proud that Trinity's joint team is being recognized for efficiency and well as excellence. “Our joint team has worked hard to create a program that delivers high-quality care and a positive experience for
patients. This added recognition of Blue Distinction Center+ shows that the program is also a good value,” he said.

Trinity Hospital first achieved Blue Distinction honors for knee and hip replacement in 2009, about a year after it launched its Joint
Replacement Center, an 11-bed unit comprising the east wing of the hospital's 6th Floor Ortho/Neuro Unit. The opening of the center in 2008 represented a new approach to knee and hip replacement surgery - one that features best practices in joint care and a group approach to patient care and recovery.

More than 460 facilities nationally were recently recognized as Blue Distinction Centers+ for their expertise and cost efficiency in
delivering specialty care. Quality is key, according to a BCBSA release announcing the designations.  “Only those facilities that first meet Blue Distinction's nationally established, objective quality measures are considered for designation as Blue Distinction Centers+,” the release said.

Research confirms that facilities that receive the Blue Distinction Center and Blue Distinction Center+ labels demonstrate better
quality and improved outcomes for patients, with lower rates of complications and readmissions.  Blue Distinction
Centers+ also are more than 20 percent more cost-efficient than their peers.

“The Blues are proud to recognize and distinguish providers that have demonstrated a dedication and commitment to delivering quality care and doing so efficiently, along with helping consumers and employers select quality, cost-efficient facilities that are well suited for their treatment needs,” the release added.

For more information or for a complete listing of newly designated facilities, please visit

Note: Blue Distinction*
Centers met overall quality measures for patient safety and outcomes, developed with input from the medical community. Blue Distinction* Centers+ also met cost measures that address consumers' need for affordable nealthcare. Individual outcomes may vary. National criteria is displayed on A local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for facilities located in its own service area.  To find out which services and providers (including hospital based physicians) are covered under your policy, or to learn about Local Blue Plan Criteria, contact your Local Blue Plan, and contact your provider before making an appointment to verify its current Network and Blue Distinction Centers status. Each hospital's Cost Index is calculated separately, based on data from its Local Blue Plan. Hospitals in portions of CA, ID, NY, PA and WA may lie in areas served by two Local Blue Plans, resulting in two Cost Index figures; and their own Local Blue Plans decide whether all hospitals in these areas must meet Blue Distinction Centers+ national criteria for one or both Cost Index figures. Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for damages, losses, or non-covered charges resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers. To find out more, contact your Local Blue Plan. SPACE index.php