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UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's Designated Blue Distinction® Center for Maternity Care


In an effort to help prospective parents find hospitals that deliver quality maternity care, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced that UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s has been designated as one of the first hospitals to receive the Blue Distinction® Center for Maternity Care designation, a new designation under the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

Nearly four million babies are born in the U.S. annually, making childbirth the most common cause of hospitalization. This new Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program evaluates hospitals on several quality measures, including the percentage of newborns that fall into the category of early elective delivery, an ongoing concern in the medical community. Compared with babies born 39 weeks or later, early term infants face higher risks of infant death and respiratory ailments such as respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, and respiratory failure, among other conditions. These babies also have a higher rate of admission to Neonatal Intensive Care Units.

In addition, hospitals that receive a Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care designation agreed to meet requirements that align with principles that support evidence-based practices of care, as well as having initiated programs to promote successful breastfeeding, as described in the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative by Baby-Friendly USA or the Mother-Friendly Hospital program by the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) through its “Ten Steps of Mother-Friendly Care.” The program also evaluates hospitals on overall patient satisfaction, including a willingness to recommend the hospital to others. 

Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care, an expansion of the national Blue Distinction Specialty Care program, are hospitals recognized for delivering quality specialty care safely and effectively, based on objective measures developed with input from the medical community.

“St. Luke’s is honored to receive the Blue Distinction® Center for Maternity Care designation,” states Taffy Zoelle, Nurse Practitioner and Director of Women’s and Children’s Services at UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s. “As Siouxland’s number one choice for birth, we are committed to providing exceptional care to expecting parents and babies. We are proud to deliver more babies from Sioux City and the surrounding area than anyone else.”

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

UnityPoint Health Hospital  City  Designation 
 Allen Memorial  Waterloo  Blue Distinction Center+
 Finley Hospital  Dubuque  Blue Distinction Center+
 Iowa Lutheran Hospital  Des Moines  Blue Distinction Center+
 Iowa Methodist Medical Center  Des Moines  Blue Distinction Center+
 Methodist West Hospital  Des Moines  Blue Distinction Center+
 St. Luke’s Methodist Hospital  Cedar Rapids  Blue Distinction Center+
 St. Luke’s Regional Hospital  Sioux City  Blue Distinction Center+
 Trinity Hospital  Bettendorf  Blue Distinction Center+
 Trinity Hospital  Muscatine  Blue Distinction Center+

Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies across the nation have recognized more than 280 hospitals as Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care. Hospitals recognized for these designations were assessed using a combination of publicly available quality information and cost measures derived from BCBS companies’ medical claims.

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, spine surgery and transplants. Research shows that, compared to other facilities, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients.

Learn more about the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program and view a complete listing of the designated facilities.