Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas has selected Newton 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 Surgery1 and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons2.

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 (AHRQ)3.

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.

“We are proud to be named a Blue Distinction Center+ for Knee and Hip Replacement,” says Steve Kelly, Newton Medical Center president. “This designation demonstrates Newton Medical Center’s cost efficiency and high quality of care, resulting in some of the best outcomes for our joint replacement patients.”

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.

“For the past several years, there has been an increased focus on improving the quality of health care as it relates to better outcomes for patients,” said Andrew C. Corbin, BCBSKS president/CEO. “Newton Medical Center is doing more than talking about improving quality; Newton Medical Center is demonstrating that it is capable of meeting stringent national quality standards when providing knee and hip replacements. We are proud to recognize Newton Medical Center for its expertise.”

For more information about the program and for a complete listing of the designated facilities, please visit bcbs.com/bluedistinction.

1 J Bone Joint Surg Am, The Role of Overweight and Obesity in Relation to the More Rapid Growth of Total Knee Arthroplasty Volume Compared with Total Hip Arthroplasty Volume, 2014 Jun 04; 96 (11): 922 -928. http://dx.doi.org/10.2106/JBJS.L.01731

2 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Annual Incidents of Common Musculoskeletal Procedures and Treatment, 2014 March;

3HCUP Projections: Mobility/Orthopedic Procedures 2013 to 2012. HCUP Projections Report #2012-03. ONLINE September 20, 2012, U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Available: http://www.ahrq.gov/research/data/hcup/index.html