Blue Distinction®

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 members like you with a credible, easily identifiable means of selecting facilities that meet your individual health care needs.

Each Blue Distinction Center has demonstrated their commitment to quality care, resulting in better overall outcomes for patients. In determining the selection criteria, we collaborated with physician experts and medical organizations. Potential Blue Distinction Centers® submit clinical data to establish that they meet the selection criteria, which include:

  • An established program, performing required annual volumes for certain procedures
  • Appropriate experience of its medical specialty team
  • An acute care inpatient facility, including intensive care, emergency and specialty services
  • Full facility accreditation by a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)-deemed national accreditation organization
  • A comprehensive quality management program

Blue Distinction focuses on high-volume, high-risk and high-cost areas of specialty care, including:

  • More than 400* designated Blue Distinction Centers for Cardiac Care® facilities nationwide, which provide a full range of cardiac care services, including inpatient cardiac care, cardiac rehabilitation, cardiac catheterization and cardiac surgery.
  • More than 80* designated Blue Distinction Centers for Transplants® facilities nationwide, representing more than 330 transplant program, which provide services, such as global pricing, financial savings analysis and global claims administration and support services.
  • More than 85* designated Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers® facilities nationwide, which provide inpatient cancer care programs for adults, including those treating complex and rare subtypes of cancer, delivered by multidisciplinary teams with subspecialty training and distinguished clinical expertise, focus on treatment planning and complex, major surgical treatments.
  • More than 500* designated Blue Distinction Centers for Knee and Hip ReplacementSM facilities which provide inpatient knee and hip replacement services, including total knee and total hip replacement surgeries.
  • More than 300* designated Blue Distinction Centers for Spine SurgerySM facilities which provide inpatient spine surgery services, including discectomy, fusion and decompression procedures.

You can find more information about Blue Distinction under the Doctors and Hospitals section of your Blue Access® for Members account or use our Provider Finder® to search for a Blue Distinction Center near you.


* Approximate number of designated facilities by the end of Q1 2010

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.