SWMC Recognized for Higher Quality and Cost-Efficiency in Maternity Care

Joe Denoyer - May 20, 2021 2:51 pm

Liberal, KS- Southwest Medical Center is proud to be recognized by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS) with a Blue Distinction® Centers+ (BDC+) for Maternity Care designation, as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

Racial and ethnic disparities are persistent and widespread across maternal healthcare, primarily driven by socioeconomic status, geographic location, and implicit provider bias.  Compared to similarly developed countries such as Canada, Germany, and Australia, the United State has the highest maternal mortality rate (MMR), at approximately 17.4 deaths per 100,000 live births, with the MMR steadily increasing since 2000[1].  According to the CDC, non-Hispanic Black women are two to three times more likely to die from preventable or treatable pregnancy-related complications compared to white women[2].

To help address these gaps in care and to help ensure the better health of mothers, The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association enhanced its quality evaluation for the Maternity Care program to address key factors driving the United States’ maternal health crisis, such as preventable or treatable pregnancy-related conditions, high utilization of Caesarean sections, and racial and ethnic disparities in maternal healthcare.

Overall, cost of care episodes for vaginal and cesarean births at BDC+ facilities are 20% less than those at non-Blue Distinction Centers+ facilities.  The rates of Episiotomies were 49% less those at Blue Distinction Centers (BDC and BDC+) than at those at non-Blue Distinction Centers (BDC and BDC+).  In 2018, BDC/BDC+ facilities across the country cared for more than 40% of Blue Cross and Blue Shield commercially insured women giving birth.

Southwest Medical Center is proud to be recognized by BCBSKS for meeting the rigorous Blue Distinction Centers+ quality selection criteria for maternity care set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

“We will continue to provide elite and compassionate maternity care to fulfill the needs and preferences of our expectant mothers,” said Robert Whitaker, SWMC President and CEO. “Our dedicated physicians and staff work diligently every day to place every patient and family first. We are deeply committed to ensuring the best care for our community.”

In 2020, the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care Program was expanded beyond traditional outcome measures to include assessments of internal quality improvement, data collection and dissemination, and internal protocols that better address clinical quality and equity issues in maternity care.  New in the evaluation cycle, facilities must collect race ethnicity data, have a maternal quality improvement program, commence drills and simulations for adverse events, and have dedicated protocols and procedures for the management of hypertension and hemorrhage.  In addition, they must meet clinical outcome metrics at a higher standard than required previously.  Specifically, the rate for low risk first time cesarean sections has been aligned with the revised Healthy People 2020 goals.  Facilities eligible for the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity care show statistically significant differences in key clinical outcomes compared to their peers.

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

“We are committed to give our members access to the best in healthcare. We are excited that Southwest Medical Center is doing such truly great work,” said Matt All, President/CEO, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas.  “Each facility recognized as a Blue Distinction Center is meeting rigorous quality metrics in all phases of their maternity care programs and, in doing so, delivering better care for our members and all Kansans.”

Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality specialty care in the areas of bariatric surgery, cancer care, cardiac care, cellular immunotherapy, fertility care, gene therapy, knee and hip replacement, maternity care, spine surgery, substance use treatment and recovery, and transplants, while encouraging healthcare professionals to improve the care they deliver.  Research 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 and for a complete listing of the designated providers, visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction.

 

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