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Published on October 30, 2013

Abington Memorial Hospital Recognized for Quality in Cardiac Care

Abington Memorial Hospital among first to receive Blue Distinction Center+ SM new designation for delivering quality and cost-efficient cardiac procedures

Abington, PA (October 30, 2013)—Independence Blue Cross has recognized Abington Memorial Hospital as one of the first hospitals in the nation to receive a Blue Distinction Center+SM designation in the area of cardiac care, as part of the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care® program.

 Blue Distinction Centers are hospitals shown to deliver quality specialty care based on objective, transparent measures for patient safety and health outcomes that were developed with input from the medical community. This year, the national program has added a new designation level, Blue Distinction Centers+, to recognize hospitals that deliver both quality and cost-efficient specialty care.

In 2006, the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program was developed to help patients find quality providers for their specialty care needs while encouraging healthcare professionals to improve the care they deliver. To receive a Blue Distinction Center+ for Cardiac CareSM designation, a hospital must demonstrate success in meeting both general quality and safety criteria (such as preventing hospital-acquired infections) and cardiac-specific quality measures (related to lower rates of complications and death following cardiac surgery; and non-surgical procedures, such as cardiac stent placement) and, additionally, must show better cost efficiency relative to their peers. Quality is key: only those facilities that first meet Blue Distinction’s nationally established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation as a Blue Distinction Center.

“We are proud to be recognized by Independence Blue Cross for meeting the rigorous cardiac care selection criteria set by the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program,” said Rohinton Morris, MD, chief, Cardiothoracic Surgery Division and surgical director, Porter Institute for Valvular Heart Disease. “This designation recognizes the team approach and extensive experience of the many cardiac specialists and advanced medical professionals who provide cardiovascular care at The Heart and Vascular Institute.”

Abington Memorial Hospital is one of the region's busiest cardiovascular centers, with patients coming from across the region and beyond. Also, it has the only Level II Emergency Trauma Center in Montgomery County, providing emergency diagnostic and therapeutic treatment to victims of heart attack.

Abington Memorial Hospital also offers a hybrid operating room, which combines treatments provided only in the cardiac catheterization laboratory with those traditionally offered in the operating room. Abington Memorial Hospital provides a full range of cardiac care services, including inpatient cardiac care, cardiac rehabilitation, cardiac catheterization and cardiac surgery (including coronary artery bypass graft surgery and/or valve surgery), Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) and the Comprehensive Congestive Heart Failure Program.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming nearly 600,000 lives each year. Cardiac procedures, including bypass and cardiac stent placement, are among the most common major medical procedures provided by the US health care system, with more than 1 million procedures performed annually. These cardiac related procedures cost the nation more than $28 billion annually. The Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program seeks to reduce this burden, by empowering patients with the knowledge and tools to find both quality and value for their cardiac care needs.

“Independence Blue Cross is committed to providing members access to high quality, more affordable health care,” says Dr. Richard Snyder, Chief Medical Officer at Independence Blue Cross. “Now more than ever, our members need real facts so they can make smart choices about their health care.  Blue Distinction – our designation program for specialty care – improves the quality of care our members receive by recognizing health care facilities with proven expertise in delivering specialty care. We applaud Abington Memorial Hospital for being recognized as a Blue Distinction Center+ for Cardiac Care.”

Research shows that Blue Distinction Centers+ demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients, with lower rates of complications following certain cardiac procedures and lower rates of healthcare associated infections, compared with their peers. Blue Distinction Centers+ are also 20 percent more cost-efficient for those same procedures.

The Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program identifies hospitals delivering quality care in bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery, and transplants. These specialty areas comprise approximately 30 percent of inpatient hospital expenditures. For more information about the program and for a complete listing of the designated facilities, please visit

About Abington Memorial Hospital

Abington Memorial Hospital is a 665-bed, acute care teaching hospital with a medical staff of more than 1,100 physicians and more than 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, home health and maternal/child health.

About Independence Blue Cross

Proudly celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2013, Independence Blue Cross is the leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. With our affiliates, we have 3.1 million members nationwide. We are enhancing the health and wellness of the people and communities we serve by delivering innovative and competitively priced healthcare products and services; pioneering new ways to reward doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare professionals for coordinated, quality care; and supporting programs and events that promote wellness. To learn more about how we’re changing the game, visit Connect with us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @ibx. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Blue Distinction Centers® (BDC) met overall quality measures for patient safety and outcomes, developed with input from the medical community. Blue Distinction Centers+SM (BDC+) also met cost measures that address consumers’ need for affordable health care. Individual outcomes may vary. National criteria are displayed on A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for facilities located in its own service area. For details on Local Blue Plan Criteria, a provider’s in-network status, or your own policy’s coverage, contact your Local Blue Plan. Each hospital’s Cost Index is calculated with data from its Local Blue Plan. Hospitals in CA, ID, NY, PA, and WA may lie in two Local Blue Plans’ areas, resulting in two Cost Index figures; and their own Local Blue Plans decide whether one or both Cost Index figures must meet BDC+ national criteria. Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for damages or non-covered charges resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers.

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