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News

Samaritan Medical Center Earns Blue Distinction® Center Designation for Quality in Spine Surgery

Published on: January 16, 2020

WATERTOWN, NY – Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has selected Samaritan Medical Center as a Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery, as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated healthcare 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.

Spinal surgeries are one of the most frequent types of elective surgeries in the U.S. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, there were more than 465,000 spinal fusion operations in the U.S. in 2011, a procedure commonly done in the lumbar region of the lower back to treat back pain.

Hospitals designated as Blue Distinction Centers for Spine Surgery demonstrate expertise in cervical and lumbar fusion, cervical laminectomy and lumbar laminectomy/discectomy procedures, resulting in fewer patient complications and hospital readmissions compared to other hospitals. Designated hospitals must also maintain national accreditation to be designated.

Samaritan Medical Center is proud to be recognized by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield for meeting the rigorous selection criteria for spine surgery set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

“Samaritan’s commitment to local orthopaedic care for our patients is evident and this special distinction in spine surgery says volumes about the quality and outcomes we strive for,” states Dr. Mario Victoria, Samaritan Medical Center Chief Medical Officer. “From specialized inpatient care, to highly trained physicians and nursing staff, this designation is a true reflection of the level of care you can expect at Samaritan.”

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 healthcare professionals to improve the care they deliver.

“To receive the Blue Distinction designation, an organization must meet a specific set of rigorous standards that represent a commitment to quality and helping members better manage their care,” said Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Regional President Eve Van de Wal. “We’re proud to recognize Samaritan Medical Center for their excellence in delivering safe and effective spine surgery treatment to their patients.”

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

About Samaritan Medical Center
Samaritan Medical Center (Watertown, New York) is a 290-bed not-for-profit community medical center, offering a full spectrum of inpatient and outpatient healthcare services. From primary and emergency care to highly specialized medical and surgical services, such as cancer treatment, neonatal intensive care, behavioral health and addiction services, and imaging services, Samaritan Medical Center and its team of healthcare professionals proudly serves the medical needs of our civilian and military community. Quality, compassion, and safety are the basic principles by which exceptional care is delivered at Samaritan.

About Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a nonprofit health plan with 1.5 million upstate New York members. The company’s mission is to help people live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care. Its products and services include cost-saving prescription drug discounts, wellness tracking tools and access to telemedicine. With more than 3,500 employees, the company is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce to foster innovation and better serve its members. It also encourages employees to engage in their communities by providing paid volunteer time off as one of many benefits. To learn more, visit ExcellusBCBS.com.

About 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 healthcare coverage for nearly 105 million members – one-in-three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.

About Blue Distinction Centers
Blue Distinction Centers (BDC) met overall quality measures for patient safety and outcomes, developed with input from the medical community. A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for facilities 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 facility’s cost of care is evaluated using data from its Local Blue Plan. Facilities 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 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 non-covered charges or other losses or damages resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers.