Blue Distinction Centers for Transplants®
Blue Distinction® recognizes facilities that meet objective, evidence-based thresholds for clinical quality, developed in collaboration with physicians and medical organizations. At the core of Blue Distinction are the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care®, providing our members with a credible, easily identifiable means of selecting facilities that meet their individual health care needs.
Blue Distinction Centers for Transplants have demonstrated their commitment to quality care, resulting in better overall outcomes for transplant patients. They offer a broad range of transplant services through a coordinated, streamlined transplant management program. To date, we have designated more than 80 facilities nationwide — representing more than 330 transplant programs — that meet the evidence-based selection criteria. Each of these facilities is designated for one or more of the following types of transplants:
- Lung (deceased and living donor)
- Combination heart /lung
- Liver (deceased and living donor)
- Simultaneous pancreas kidney (SPK)
- Pancreas (PAK/PTA)
- Bone marrow/stem cell (autologous and allogeneic)
In determining the selection criteria for Blue Distinction, we collaborated with physician experts and medical organizations such as the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR), the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) and the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT).* Potential Blue Distinction Centers® submit clinical data to establish that they meet the selection criteria, which include:
- An established transplant program, actively performing these procedures for the most recent 24-month period and performing a required minimum volume of transplant procedures
- Appropriate experience and credentialing of its transplant team
- An established acute care inpatient facility, including intensive care, emergency and a full range of services**
- Full facility accreditation by a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)-deemed national accreditation organization.
- Evaluation of patient and graft aggregate outcomes, including sufficiently low graft failures and mortality rates
- A comprehensive quality management program
- Documented patient care and follow-up procedures at admission and discharge, including referral back to primary care physicians
Detailed selection criteria for lung transplants as well as solid organ transplants are publicly available, providing consumers with support for their health care decisions and facilities with a clinically established path for quality improvement.
To maintain its Blue Distinction Center designation, each facility must reapply periodically for re-designation. This not only encourages continuing quality at the facility level, but it also provides us with an opportunity to work with physicians and medical organizations to determine if any of the Blue Distinction quality thresholds should be raised to reflect current clinical practice. This process fosters ongoing opportunities for improving the overall quality of care.
Blue Distinction Centers for Transplants, along with Blue Distinction Centers for Bariatric Surgery®, Blue Distinction Centers for Cardiac Care®, Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers®, Blue Distinction Centers for Knee and Hip ReplacementSM and Blue Distinction Centers for Spine SurgerySM are a key part of our efforts to collaborate with physicians and facilities to improve the overall quality, and resulting affordability, of specialty care.
* These organizations have provided information and input but do not formally endorse the Blue Distinction Centers program.
** Certain bone marrow transplant programs meet this requirement by affiliation with a full-service, accredited inpatient hospital facility.
Note: Designation as Blue Distinction Centers means these facilities' overall experience and aggregate data met objective criteria established in collaboration with expert clinicians' and leading professional organizations’ recommendations. Individual outcomes may vary. To find out which services are covered under your policy at any facilities, please call the customer service phone number on the back of your Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois member ID card.