Knee and Hip Replacement Programs Receive Blue Distinction Designations

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia has selected Cabell Huntington Hospital (CHH) as a Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement and St. Mary’s Medical Center (SMMC) as a Blue Distinction Center+ for Knee and Hip Replacement. Both designations are 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.

Facilities 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

Hoyt J. Burdick, MD

and readmissions. Designated facilities include hospitals (with and without an onsite Intensive Care Unit) and Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASC). All designated facilities must maintain national accreditation and ASCs are also required to have an advanced orthopedic certification. In addition to meeting these quality thresholds, hospitals designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ are on average 20 percent more cost-efficient per episode of care compared to other facilities.

Knee and hip replacement procedures remain some of the most commonly performed elective surgical procedures in the U.S., according to a 2018 study released by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. In 2014, there were 370,770 total hip replacements and 680,150 total knee replacements.

“The selection criteria for knee and hip replacements set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program are quite robust. So we are proud to be recognized for meeting those criteria,” said Hoyt Burdick, MD, chief clinical officer for Mountain Health Network. “Quality is key for us and so we truly appreciate Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia acknowledging our hard work. This designation confirms our commitment to outstanding orthopedic care for our community.” 

“The Blue Distinction program gives Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia members the ability to choose their providers based upon reliable quality and safety information,” said Dr. Charles DeShazer, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Highmark Health Plan. 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 healthcare decisions. We congratulate our Blue Distinction Specialty Care providers on their accomplishment and thank our members for choosing Highmark BCBS West Virginia.”

“The Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality care in the areas of bariatric surgery, cancer care, cardiac care, cellular immunotherapy, fertility care, gene therapy, knee and hip replacements, maternity care, spine surgery, substance use treatment, and recovery and transplants. Research for many of these programs shows that, compared to other providers, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients.

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