Harford County hospitals earn recognition for knee and hip replacement

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University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health joint surgeons Mark Clough, M.D., Edward O’Mara, M.D., Raj Yalamanchili, M.D, and William Cook, M.D., are with a MAKO Rio, an interactive robotic arm used for computer assisted joint replacement “makoplasty.” CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield has selected University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center as a Blue Distinction Center+ for Knee and Hip Replacement, part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. In addition, University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital was named a Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement. (Photo Courtesy of University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health)

CareFirst has recognized two Harford County hospitals as part of its Distinction Specialty Care program. Here are the details provided:

UM Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, UM Harford Memorial Hospital Receive Honors from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield for Knee and Hip Replacement

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) has selected University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center as a Blue Distinction Center+ for Knee and Hip Replacement, part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. In addition, University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital was named a Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement.

Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated health care 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 Surgery and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

“The orthopedics team is honored to be recognized with Blue Distinction designations by CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. Every day we are committed to providing quality care, patient safety and superior health outcomes for our joint replacement patients,” said Dr. William Cook, IV, M.D., chief of orthopedic surgery at University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health. “Receiving this designation further validates the work our team has done to be the preferred joint replacement program in the community.”

Hospitals designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ for Knee and Hip Replacement, like UM UCMC, 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+.

Hospitals designated as Blue Distinction Centers for Knee and Hip Replacement, such as UM HMH, 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.

University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health is proud to have two of its hospitals recognized by CareFirst for meeting the robust selection criteria for knee and hip replacements set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

“What an incredible honor it is for UM Upper Chesapeake Medical Center to be honored as a Blue Distinction Center+  and for UM Harford Memorial Hospital to be recognized as a Blue Distinction Center for knee and hip replacement,” said Lyle E. Sheldon, FACHE, president/CEO of University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health. “The expertise and quality care our orthopedics team provides to our patients every day is second to none. We thank CareFirst for recognizing our commitment to excellence.”

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 health care professionals to improve the care they deliver.

For more information about the program and for a complete listing of the designated facilities, please visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction.