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Published on February 17, 2010

Abington Memorial Hospital Earns Two Designations:

Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery and Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement

Abington, PA (February 17, 2010) — Independence Blue Cross of Philadelphia has designated Abington Memorial Hospital as a Blue Distinction Center for Spine SurgerySM and as a Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip ReplacementSM. 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.

"This designation is a tribute to more than a decade of hard work by our nurses, doctors, physical therapists and support staff, virtually everyone involved in our program, who have focused on developing the most advanced musculoskeletal program for our patients," said Andrew M. Star, M.D., chief of Orthopaedic Surgery at Abington Memorial Hospital and director of the Human Motion Institute.

Performing more than 1,000 joints last year, the Human Motion Institute was the first teaching hospital in Pennsylvania to have received the prestigious Gold Seal of Approval and Disease Specific Certification from the Joint Commission for the hip and knee replacement program. The center offers the most advanced techniques in joint replacement including the new anterior approach, which spares muscles and ligaments, enabling quicker rehabilitation and return to work.

Our spine surgeons – orthopaedic surgeons and neurosurgeons – performed over 800 spine procedures last year, using minimally invasive techniques and the latest devices. An Abington Memorial Hospital orthopaedist recently performed the first Superion clinical trial in Pennsylvania for advanced spinal stenosis patients.

"Blue Distinction puts a high value on research and evidence-based health and medical information," said Allan Korn, MD, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association chief medical officer. "Blue Distinction Centers show our commitment to working with doctors and hospitals in communities across the country to identify leading institutions that meet clinically validated quality standards and deliver better overall outcomes in patient care."

The selection criteria used to evaluate facilities were 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. More information on selection criteria is available on www.bcbs.com:

  • 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

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 in the areas of bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacement, spine surgery and transplants. The program is part of The Blues® efforts to collaborate with physicians and medical facilities to improve the overall quality and safety of specialty care.

The additional Blue Distinction Centers for Spine Surgery and Blue Distinction Centers for Knee and Hip Replacement designations will bring the nation's number of Blue Distinction designations to more than 1,600-and this number is expected to increase in the coming years.

About Abington Memorial Hospital

Abington Memorial Hospital is a 665-bed, acute care teaching hospital with a medical staff of more than 900 physicians and 5,600 employees. These professionals provide medical care and health services to residents of Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.

A regional provider, Abington Memorial Hospital has the only Level II accredited trauma center in Montgomery County and offers highly specialized services in cardiac care, cancer care, neurosciences, orthopaedics and maternal/child health.


Note: Designation as Blue Distinction Centers means these facilities' overall experience and aggregate data met objective criteria established in collaboration with expert clinicians' and leading professional organizations' recommendations. Individual outcomes may vary. To find out which services are covered under your policy at any facilities, please call your local Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield Plan.

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