West Virginia University Hospitals became a Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care this week. Mountain State Blue Cross Blue Shield made this designation after a thorough evaluation of the cardiac care program. To date, only about 400 facilities nationwide have received a Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care designation.

Blue Distinction is a designation awarded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies to medical facilities that have demonstrated expertise in delivering quality healthcare. The designation is based on rigorous, evidence-based selection criteria established in collaboration with expert physicians’ and medical organizations’ recommendations.

“West Virginia has a very high rate of heart disease, which makes it imperative that high-quality cardiac care is available,” WVU Heart Institute Director Robert Beto, M.D., said. “Blue Distinction recognizes our success in developing the WVU Heart Institute into the regional leader in excellent heart care.”

The WVU Heart Institute offers comprehensive cardiac care services, including inpatient cardiac care, cardiac rehabilitation, cardiac catheterization and cardiac surgery.

“We are pleased to be able to designate WVUH as a Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care,” said Fred Earley, MSBCBS president. “The commitment and quality of care demonstrated by this hospital in treating patients with various cardiac health issues is truly an example of the exceptional healthcare the citizens of West Virginia can feel confident in receiving right here in their own state.”

“Blue Distinction puts a high value on research and evidence-based health and medical information,” Allan Korn, M.D., Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association chief medical officer, said. “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.”

To be designated as a Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care, WVUH met the selection criteria posted at www.BCBS.com, which include

  • an established cardiac care program, performing required annual volumes for certain procedures (for example, a minimum of 125 cardiac surgical procedures annually)
  • appropriate experience of its cardiac team, including sub-specialty board certification for interventional cardiologists and cardiac surgeons
  • an established acute care inpatient facility, including intensive care, emergency care and a full range of cardiac services
  • full facility accreditation by a U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services-deemed national accreditation organization
  • low overall complication and mortality rates
  • a comprehensive quality management program

To date, more than 1,600 Blue Distinction Center designations have been awarded to facilities nationwide, providing consumers with a framework for making informed decisions on where to go for specialty care in the areas of bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacement, spine surgery, and transplants.

For more information about the WVU Heart Institute, see http://www.health.wvu.edu/services/heart-institute/index.aspx.



CONTACT: Kim Fetty, HSC News Service
304-293-7087, fettyki@wvuh.com

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