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Independence Blue Cross recognizes 18 area hospitals as Blue Distinction Centers

Designation aids consumers in choosing high-performing hospitals

Philadelphia, PA – Independence Blue Cross today announced that 18 hospitals in southeastern Pennsylvania have been recognized by the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care® program in the areas of spine surgery and/or knee and hip replacement. Several of the 18 hospitals have earned multiple recognitions, resulting in 24 designations in the national quality program for spine surgery and knee and hip replacement. There are seven Blue Distinction Centers for expertise in quality specialty care, and 17 Blue Distinction Centers+ — a new designation — for expertise in quality and cost-efficiency.

The Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program identifies hospitals with proven expertise in delivering specialty care — including fewer complications and readmissions compared to hospitals without these recognitions. The program recently added more robust quality measurements focused on improved patient health and safety, and it expanded its focus to include Blue Distinctions Centers+, a quality designation that also considers the cost of care.

A Blue Distinction Center+ designation signifies that a hospital not only meets the same high quality criteria as Blue Distinction Centers, it goes a step further. The Blue Distinction Center+ program adds measures on the cost-efficiency and cost effectiveness of the high-quality care being delivered.

The 17 Blue Distinction Centers+ for spine surgery and/or knee and hip replacement are:

  • Abington Memorial Hospital (spine, knee/hip)
  • Albert Einstein at Elkins Park (knee/hip)
  • Albert Einstein Medical Center (spine)
  • Brandywine Hospital (spine)
  • Doylestown Hospital (knee/hip)
  • Holy Redeemer (knee/hip)
  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (spine)
  • Nazareth Hospital (knee/hip)
  • Paoli Memorial Hospital (spine)
  • Pennsylvania Hospital (spine, knee/hip)
  • Pottstown Memorial (knee/hip)
  • Presbyterian Medical Center of the University of PA (knee/hip)
  • Riddle Memorial (spine, knee/hip)
  • St. Mary Medical Center (knee/hip)

The seven Blue Distinction Centers for spine surgery and/or knee and hip replacement are:

  • Main Line Hospitals, Inc. — Bryn Mawr (knee/hip)
  • Main Line Hospitals, Inc. — Lankenau (knee/hip)
  • Paoli Memorial Hospital (knee/hip)
  • Temple University Hospital (spine, knee/hip)
  • Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (spine, knee/hip)

These 18 hospitals are the only ones in the region recognized as a Blue Distinction Center or Blue Distinction Center+ for spine surgery and/or knee and hip replacement.

Since 2006, consumers, medical providers and employers have relied on the Blue Distinction program to identify hospitals delivering quality care in bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery, and transplants. For more information about the Blue Distinction program, and to see a list of Blue Distinction Centers in the region, go to

Research confirms that these newly designated Blue Distinction Centers and Blue Distinction Centers+ demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients, with lower rates of complications and readmissions than their peers. Blue Distinction Centers+ are also more than 20 percent more cost-efficient. The program provides consumers with tools to help them make better informed health care decisions. These results will also enable employers, working with their local Blue Plan, to tailor benefits to meet their individual quality and cost objectives.

Blue Distinction® Centers met overall quality measures for patient safety and outcomes, developed with input from the medical community. Blue Distinction® Centers+ meet additional cost measures that address consumers’ need for affordable health care.

Media Contact
Lisa Yoon