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Independence Blue Cross recognizes local hospitals for higher-quality and lower-cost maternity care

The expanded Blue Distinction® Centers for Maternity Care Program aims to provide patients with higher-quality care, with a goal of reducing preventable or treatable pregnancy-related complications

Independence Blue Cross (IBX) has designated several hospitals in the Greater Philadelphia region as Blue Distinction® Centers and Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care. To earn these designations, hospitals need to prove that they deliver quality care, safely and effectively. For the Blue Distinction Centers+ designation, hospitals must also demonstrate more affordable care. Both designations are part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program, which helps members find high-quality options for care with the expertise for their specific needs. The hospitals that currently hold these designations for maternity care are listed below*:

Blue Distinction® Centers for Maternity Care:

  • Jefferson Einstein Hospital
  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
  • Pennsylvania Hospital
  • Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care:

  • Jefferson Abington Hospital
  • Chester County Hospital
  • Jefferson Einstein Montgomery Hospital
  • Grand View Hospital
  • Holy Redeemer Hospital
  • Phoenixville Hospital
  • Main Line-Riddle Hospital
  • Main Line-Paoli Hospital

“We’re pleased to recognize these local hospitals for their proven expertise in providing high-quality, safe, and effective care to new and expectant parents and their children. They share our commitment to maternal health equity and like us are working hard to break down barriers that people face when trying to get access to quality care,” said Rodrigo Cerdá, MD, MPH, senior vice president of Health Services and chief medical officer at Independence Blue Cross.

The Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program plays a key role in the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s (BCBSA) National Health Equity Strategy aimed at reducing racial health disparities across the care spectrum and improving patient outcomes for all Americans. Based on data from the current designation cycle, facilities designated under the Maternity Care program demonstrate higher-quality care compared to non-Blue Distinction Center facilities, with overall average rates of 26% lower episiotomies, 60% fewer elective deliveries and 17% lower cesarean births—all of which point to healthier outcomes for patients.

Commitment to Maternity Care:

Severe maternal morbidity rates are on the rise among all pregnant women in the United States, which has the highest maternal mortality rate than any developed country. Moreover, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women. These disparities are unacceptable and demand immediate attention.

BCBSA is committed to reducing racial disparities in maternal health and has executed a multi-year National Health Equity Strategy to achieve this goal. To align with this strategy, the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program enhanced its quality and measurement standards to recognize higher-quality facilities that have taken action to respond effectively to obstetric emergencies, reduce racial disparities, and improve maternal health outcomes.

The Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program’s selection criteria was devised to close clinical care gaps and reduce inequities that persist throughout the maternal care spectrum. The selection criteria includes components of BCBSA’s Maternal Health Equity Actions, which dismantle the cultural, operational and structural barriers that created inequities in maternal care.

To be designated under this program, each applicant facility was evaluated on a combination of objective data on patient outcomes as well as the practices implemented to reduce racial disparities and improve maternal health outcomes, such as:

  • Using evidence-based best practices to respond effectively to obstetric emergencies
  • Offering unconscious bias training
  • Participating in the regional Perinatal Quality Collaborative
  • Having doula support available on the maternity care team
  • Collecting race, ethnicity and language data
  • Having a program dedicated to quality improvements in maternal care
  • Running drills and simulations to prepare providers are prepared to deal with a range of obstetric emergencies
  • Demonstrating health outcomes that exceed the selection criteria from our program’s previous evaluation cycle

To further drive improvements to maternal care, BCBSA will be working closely with IBX, to encourage facilities to implement performance improvement activities that will enhance their maternity care programs and improve patient outcomes.

“It is time to raise the bar. Everyone deserves to have higher-quality care at every stage of their pregnancy,” said Erin Barney, BCBSA’s vice president of Network Solutions. “Facilities that earned a Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care designation have proven that they deliver higher-quality maternity care and are committed to reducing maternal health disparities that are often treatable and preventable. Closing clinical care gaps is a joint effort, and we are proud to recognize facilities that put insights into action, creating a more equitable system of health for all.”

Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality specialty care at lower costs in the areas of bariatric surgery, cancer care, cardiac care, cellular immunotherapy, fertility care, gene therapy, knee and hip replacement, maternity care, spine surgery, substance use treatment and recovery, and transplants, while encouraging health care professionals to improve the care they deliver.

For more information about the program and for a complete listing of the designated providers, visit our website.


Media contact:
Diana Quattrone
215-815-7828 (cell)


*The list of hospitals designated as Blue Distinction® Centers and Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care can change over time based on their performance data and other program criteria.

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