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Published on February 16, 2010

Mercy Earns Surgical Designations From Wellmark


Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield has designated Mercy Medical Center as a Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery and a Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement. Blue Distinction Centers for Spine Surgery and Blue Distinction Centers for Knee and Hip Replacement are part of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association's expansion of its Blue Distinction® designation.

"Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield is committed to working with hospitals and physicians to ensure the highest quality care for our members," says Paul Karazija, M.D., Wellmark's Chief Medical Officer. "The Blue Distinction designation is designed to help our members choose hospitals with a proven track record for meeting aggressive quality standards."

The selection criteria (more information available on used to evaluate facilities was developed with input from a panel of expert physicians. To be designated as a Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery and a Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement, the following types of criteria were evaluated.

  • Established acute care inpatient facility, including intensive care, emergency care, and a full range of patient support services with full accreditation by a CMS-deemed national accreditation organization
  • Experience and training of program surgeons, including case volume
  • Quality management programs, including surgical checklists as well as tracking and evaluation of clinical outcomes and process of care
  • Multi-disciplinary clinical pathways and teams to coordinate and streamline care, including transitions of care
    Shared decision making and preoperative patient education

"Earning Wellmark's Blue Distinction for Spine Surgery and Knee and Hip Replacement is indicative of Mercy's commitment to provide the highest quality of care to our patients," says Penny Glanz, Operations Director for Surgical Services at Mercy. "These achievements reflect the hard work and commitment of our surgeons and Mercy's staff members."

The Blue Distinction designation is awarded by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies to medical facilities that have demonstrated expertise in delivering quality healthcare and is part of The Blues® efforts to collaborate with physicians and medical facilities to improve the overall quality and safety of specialty care.