Blue Cross and Blue Shield's Blue Distinction(R) Designation Improves Healthcare by Focusing on Quality

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 General News
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Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies designate Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers(SM)



CHICAGO, March 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of ongoing efforts to raise the overall quality of healthcare in America, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) is expanding the Blue Distinction(R) designation.



Today, Blue Cross and Blue Shield members have national access to more than 80 Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers across 33 states. With this expansion, more than 780 Blue Distinction Cancers(SM) are available to members nationwide, providing quality care in the areas of cardiac care, bariatric surgery, transplants as well as complex and rare cancers.



"In our recently released 'The Pathway to Covering America' report, we identify Blue Distinction as being a prime example of how we are collaborating with leading providers to recognize outstanding achievements in healthcare for our more than 100 million members," said Scott P. Serota, BCBSA president and CEO. "In the current healthcare system, 30 cents of every dollar is spent on care that is ineffective, inappropriate or redundant. A key goal of Blue Distinction is to promote better healthcare by expanding the number of providers delivering safe and effective care based on objective, evidence-based criteria."



Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers



The expansion of the Blue Distinction designation to include the treatment of complex and rare cancers will help a very specific patient population in need of skilled and dedicated facilities that treat these complicated cancers.



Complex and rare cancers comprise approximately 15 percent of new cancer cases each year, making it difficult for consumers to locate or research an oncologist or surgical team that is experienced in treating these specific malignancies.



Designation of Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers focuses on multidisciplinary treatment planning and complex, major surgical treatments for the following malignancies:

-- acute leukemia (inpatient/non-surgical)

-- bladder cancer

-- bone cancer

-- brain cancer - primary

-- esophageal cancer

-- gastric cancer

-- head and neck cancers

-- liver cancer

-- ocular melanoma

-- pancreatic cancer

-- rectal cancer

-- soft tissue sarcomas

-- thyroid cancer - medullary or anaplastic



Selection criteria for Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers set objective, evidence-based criteria for clinical care. All Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers feature:



-- multidisciplinary team input, including sub-specialty trained teams for complex and rare cancers and demonstrated depth of expertise across cancer disciplines in medicine, surgery, radiation oncology, pathology and radiology;



-- ongoing quality management and improvement programs for cancer care;



-- ongoing commitment to using clinical data registries and providing access to appropriate clinical research for complex and rare cancers; and,



-- sufficient volume of experience in treating rare and complex cancers.



National Comprehensive Cancer Network Collaboration



Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers were developed in strategic collaboration with the National Comprehensive Cancer Network* (NCCN) and input from leading clinicians and professional organizations.



"The NCCN is pleased to collaborate with Blue Cross and Blue Shield on the development and the implementation of this important program," said Bill McGivney, PhD, NCCN CEO. "We applaud and support the efforts of Blue Cross


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