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IRMC rated among best for knee, hip replacement

Indiana Gazette
March 8, 2016

Highmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield has selected Indiana Regional Medical Center as a Blue Distinction Center+ for Knee and Hip Replacement, part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.
Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated health care facilities shown to deliver improved patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that were developed by Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies with input from the medical community.

Knee and hip replacement procedures are among the fastest-growing medical treatments in the U.S., according to studies published in the June 2014 Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

In 2010, the estimated cost of hip replacements averaged $17,500 and the estimated cost of knee replacements averaged $16,000, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Hospitals designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ for Knee and Hip Replacement demonstrate expertise in total knee and total hip replacement surgeries, resulting in fewer patient complications and hospital readmissions.

Designated hospitals must also maintain national accreditation.

In addition to meeting these quality thresholds, hospitals designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ are on average 20 percent more cost-efficient in an episode of care compared to other hospitals.
Quality is key.

Only those facilities that first meet nationally established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation as a Blue Distinction Center+.
To earn this designation, IRMC was evaluated based on objective, evidence-based selection criteria established with input from expert physicians and medical organization.

The goal of Blue Distinction+ is to identify medical facilities that deliver better overall quality and medical outcomes, and demonstrate cost efficiency for a specific area of specialty care, helping patients and doctors to make more informed hospital choices.

Indiana Regional conducts more than 200 joint replacement surgeries each year.

IRMC is proud to be recognized by Highmark BCBS for meeting the robust selection criteria for knee and hip replacements set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

“This designation is a tribute to the dedicated team of physicians, nurses, technicians and therapists who helped develop Indiana Regional Medical Center’s comprehensive program in hip and knee replacement surgery,” said Stephen Wolfe, CEO of IRMC.

“Our patients and the community benefit immensely from the clinical expertise in this area of specialty care. This designation puts us in the same class with many top hospitals in major metropolitan areas across the country.”

Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality providers for their specialty care needs in the areas of bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacements, maternity care, spine surgery and transplants, while encouraging health care professionals to improve the care they deliver.

“Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield extends its sincere congratulations to Indiana Regional Medical Center for their dedication to quality, patient safety, and transparency that is required to achieve this great distinction.

“With consumer-driven health care programs like Blue Distinction, and the significant effort of our partner practitioners and facilities, Highmark can now enable our members the opportunity to make wise, value-driven health care decisions,” said Dr. Mark Piasio, medical director, Clinical Services, Highmark Inc.

For more information about the program and for a complete listing of the designated facilities, visit www.