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Washington Regional Earns Blue Distinction® Center+ Designation for Spine Surgery

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield has selected Washington Regional Medical Center as a Blue Distinction Center+ for quality and cost efficiency in spine surgery as part of the Blue Distinction Centers for Spine Surgery program. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated health care facilities that show a commitment to delivering higher 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.

Spinal surgeries are among the most common and expensive elective surgeries in the U.S., according to the government-based Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Facilities designated as Blue Distinction Centers for Spine Surgery demonstrate expertise in cervical and lumbar fusion, cervical laminectomy, and lumbar laminectomy/discectomy procedures, resulting in fewer patient complications and readmissions overall compared to other facilities and must maintain national accreditation. In addition to meeting these quality thresholds, facilities designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ are on average 20% more cost efficient in an episode of care compared to other facilities for similar spine surgery procedures.

“Washington Regional is proud to be recognized by Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield for meeting the robust selection criteria for spine surgery set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program,” said Larry Armstrong DO, FACOS, FACS, chief of neurosurgery and director of the Washington Regional Spine Program. “Only facilities that first meet nationally established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation as a Blue Distinction Center+, and this distinction recognizes our commitment to providing high quality, compassionate care to the communities we serve. The goal of the Washington Regional Spine Program, a part of the Washington Regional J.B. Hunt Transport Services Neuroscience Institute, is to help patients live a life free of pain and get back to doing the activities they enjoy. Our neurosurgeons and providers partner with patients and, through shared decision making, work together to find the best course of treatment for each individual given their specific condition, overall health and best possible outcomes.”

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, visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction.