Charleston Area Medical Center is proud to be recognized by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia with a Blue Distinction® Centers (BDC) for Maternity Care designation, as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated health care facilities that show a commitment to delivering high quality patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community and leading accreditation and quality organizations.
Racial and ethnic disparities are persistent and widespread across maternal health care, primarily driven by socioeconomic status, geographic location and implicit provider bias. Compared to similarly developed countries such as Canada, Germany and Australia, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate (MMR), at approximately 17.4 deaths per 100,000 live births, with the MMR steadily increasing since 2000. According to the CDC, non-Hispanic Black women are two to three times more likely to die from preventable or treatable pregnancy-related complications compared to white women.
To help address these gaps in care and to help ensure the better health of mothers, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association enhanced its quality evaluation for the maternity care program to address key factors driving the United States' maternal health crisis such as preventable or treatable pregnancy-related conditions, high utilization of cesarean sections, and racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health care. In 2018, facilities that received designations under the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program cared for more than 40% of Blue Cross and Blue Shield commercially insured women giving birth across the country.
CAMC is proud to be recognized by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia for meeting the rigorous BDC quality selection criteria for maternity care set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.
"We're honored to be recognized with this distinction again because it illustrates our commitment to providing the highest level of maternity care to our community," said Andrew Weber, administrator of CAMC Women and Children's Hospital. "As the state's first freestanding hospital dedicated to the care of women and children, our focus is and always has been on patient safety and quality care for our patients, and this designation reflects that."
In 2020, the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care Program was expanded beyond traditional outcome measures to include assessments of internal quality improvement, data collection and dissemination, and internal protocols that better address clinical quality and equity issues in maternity care. New in the evaluation cycle, facilities must collect race ethnicity data, have a maternal quality improvement program, commence drills and simulations for adverse events, and have dedicated protocols and procedures for the management of high blood pressure and hemorrhage. In addition, they must meet clinical outcome metrics at a higher standard than required previously. Specifically, the rate for low risk first time cesarean sections (NTSV c-section rate, PC-02) has been aligned with the revised Healthy People 2020 goals. Facilities eligible for the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care show statistically significant differences in key clinical outcomes compared to their peers.
"The Blue Distinction programs gives Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia members the ability to choose their providers based upon reliable quality and safety information. It also provides a pathway for exceptional Providers to demonstrate their value, and delivers the kind of transparency necessary for members to make informed value-driven health care decisions. We congratulate our Blue Distinction Specialty Care Providers on their accomplishment and thank our members for choosing Highmark BCBS West Virginia," said Dr. Charles DeShazer, senior vice president and chief medical officer, Highmark Health Plan.
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, 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. Research shows that, compared to other providers, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients.
About the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans.
About Blue Distinction Centers
Blue Distinction Centers (BDC) met overall quality measures, developed with input from the medical community. A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for providers located in its own service area; for details, contact your Local Blue Plan. Blue Distinction Centers+ (BDC+) also met cost measures that address consumers' need for affordable health care. Each provider's cost of care is evaluated using data from its Local Blue Plan. Providers in CA, ID, NY, PA, and WA may lie in two Local Blue Plans' areas, resulting in two evaluations for cost of care; and their own Local Blue Plans decide whether one or both cost of care evaluation(s) must meet BDC+ national criteria. National criteria for BDC and BDC+ are displayed on www.bcbs.com. Individual outcomes may vary. For details on a provider's in-network status or your own policy's coverage, contact your Local Blue Plan and ask your provider before making an appointment. Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for noncovered charges or other losses or damages resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers.