COLUMBIA — In an effort to help prospective parents find hospitals that deliver quality, affordable maternity care, BlueCross® BlueShield® of South Carolina and BlueChoice® Health Plan of South Carolina announce the first hospitals in South Carolina to receive the Blue Distinction® Center and Blue Distinction Center+ for Maternity Care designations under the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.
Nearly 4 million babies are born in the United States annually, making childbirth the most common cause of hospitalization. In 2014, the latest year for which statistics are available, South Carolina had 57,617 births, of which 10.8 percent were preterm (prior to 37 weeks gestation).
This new maternity care recognition program evaluates hospitals on several quality measures, including the percentage of newborns that fall into the category of early elective delivery, an ongoing concern in the medical community. Compared with babies born 39 weeks or later, early term infants face higher risks of infant death and respiratory ailments, such as respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia and respiratory failure, among other conditions. These babies also have a higher rate of admission to Neonatal Intensive Care Units.
In addition, hospitals that receive a Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care designation agreed to meet requirements that align with principles that support evidence-based practices of care, as well as having initiated programs to promote successful breastfeeding, as described in the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative by Baby-Friendly USA or the Mother-Friendly Hospital program by the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) through its “Ten Steps of Mother-Friendly Care.” The program also evaluates hospitals on overall patient satisfaction, including a willingness to recommend the hospital to others.
Blue Distinction Centers and Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care, an expansion of the national Blue Distinction® Specialty Care program, are hospitals recognized for delivering quality specialty care safely and effectively, based on objective measures developed with input from the medical community. To receive a Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care designation, a hospital must meet the same quality criteria as Blue Distinction Centers while also meeting requirements for cost efficiency.
The Blues in South Carolina have designated 14 hospitals as Blue Distinction Centers and 25 as Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care in South Carolina. Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies across the nation have recognized more than 280 hospitals as Blue Distinction Centers and more than 650 hospitals as Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care. Hospitals recognized for these designations were assessed using a combination of publicly available quality information and cost measures derived from the companies’ medical claims.
The South Carolina hospitals designated as a “Blue Distinction Center” are:
• Charleston, Medical University of South Carolina
• Cheraw, McLeod Health Cheraw
• Clinton, Laurens County Memorial Hospital
• Dillon, McLeod Medical Center Dillon
• Easley, Baptist Easley Hospital
• Florence, McLeod Regional Medical Center
• Gaffney, Mary Black Health System
• Georgetown, Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital
• Greenwood, Self Regional Healthcare
• Greer, Greer Memorial Hospital
• Hilton Head, Hilton Head Hospital
• Mount Pleasant, Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant Hospital
• Mullins, Carolinas Hospital System — Marion
• Seneca, Oconee Memorial Hospital
The South Carolina hospitals designated as a “Blue Distinction Center+” are:
• Anderson, AnMed Health
• Beaufort, Beaufort Memorial Hospital
• Camden, Kershaw Health
• Charleston, Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital
• Charleston, Trident Medical Center
• Columbia, Palmetto Health Baptist
• Columbia, Palmetto Health Richland
• Conway, Conway Medical Center
• Florence, Carolinas Hospital System
• Greenville, Greenville Memorial Hospital
• Greenville, St. Francis Eastside
• Hartsville, Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center
• Lancaster, Springs Memorial Hospital
• Loris, McLeod Loris Hospital
• Manning, Clarendon Memorial Hospital
• Mount Pleasant, East Cooper Medical Center
• Murrells Inlet, Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital
• Myrtle Beach, Grand Strand Medical Center
• Newberry, Newberry County Memorial Hospital
• Orangeburg, The Regional Medical Center
• Rock Hill, Piedmont Medical Center
• Spartanburg, Mary Black Health System
• Spartanburg, Spartanburg Medical Center
• Sumter, Palmetto Health Tuomey
• Walterboro, Colleton Medical Center
Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality providers for their specialty care needs in cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery and others.
“Research shows that compared to other facilities, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients. On average, Blue Distinction Centers+ are also 20 percent more cost-efficient than non-Blue Distinction Center+ designated health care facilities. We congratulate these hospitals for meeting rigorous criteria, and we continue to commit to this and other quality-oriented efforts to help our members better manage their health,” said BlueCross Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Shawn Stinson, M.D.
This story was submitted by Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina.