St. Luke's Earns Designation for Knee and Hip Replacement Surgeries
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UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's Earns Blue Distinction® Center+ Designation for Quality and Cost-Efficiency in Knee and Hip Replacement Surgeries

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Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield has selected UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s as a Blue Distinction Center+ for Knee and Hip Replacement, 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.

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.

Quality is key: only those facilities that first meet nationally established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation as a Blue Distinction Center+.

St. Luke’s is proud to be recognized by Wellmark for meeting the robust selection criteria for knee and hip replacements set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

“We are pleased to receive the Blue Distinction Center+ for Knee and Hip Replacement designation,” said Steve Church, BSN, RN, CNML, Director of Surgery and Inpatient GI Services. “This designation validates the efforts of our skilled orthopedic patient care team, specially trained in bone and joint function.”

St. Luke’s is one of seven UnityPoint Health hospitals to receive this distinction.

  • UnityPoint Health® – Allen Hospital, Waterloo
  • UnityPoint Health® – Finley Hospital, Dubuque
  • UnityPoint Health® – Iowa Lutheran Hospital, Des Moines
  • UnityPoint Health® – Methodist West Hospital, West Des Moines
  • UnityPoint Health® – St. Luke’s Hospital, Cedar Rapids
  • UnityPoint Health® - St. Luke’s, Sioux City
  • UnityPoint Health® – Trinity Bettendorf, Bettendorf

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.

For more information about the program and for a complete listing of the designated facilities, please visit https://www.bcbs.com/about-uscapabilities-initiatives/quality-care-thats-right-you.

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. https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00004623-201406040-00008

2 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Annual Incidents of Common Musculoskeletal Procedures and Treatment, 2014 March; https://www.aaos.org/research/stats/CommonProceduresTreatments-March2014.pdf

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: https://www.ahrq.gov/research/data/hcup/index.html