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Blue Distinction

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A simpler, smarter way to find quality specialty care.

Not all hospitals are the same. One facility may excel in certain specialties and not in others, so a hospital that has a solid overall reputation isn't necessarily the right choice for a specific procedure.

So, consider a facility designated as a Blue Distinction® Center. The Blue Distinction designation is awarded to hospitals based on a thorough, objective evaluation of their performance in the areas that matter most to you—quality care, treatment expertise and overall patient outcomes, just to name a few. The criteria we measure are established with the help of expert physicians and medical organizations.

The association recently added a new designation, Blue Distinction+. Blue Distinction Centers+ not only meet the same quality criteria as Blue Distinction Centers, but they also go a step further. They are also measured on how efficiently they deliver this high-quality patient care.

Research shows that Blue Distinction Centers+ demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients, with lower rates of complications and readmissions . They are also over 20% more cost-efficient.

The following facilities in our 13-county area have been designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ for Specialty Care:


Bariatric Surgery

Gastric Stapling

Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital, Sayre

Cardiac Care

Geisinger Community Medical Center, Scranton
Pocono Medical Center, Stroudsburg
Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital, Sayre

Knee & Hip Replacement

Regional Hospital of Scranton, Scranton
Williamsport Regional Hospital, Williamsport

Spine Surgery

Geisinger Community Medical Center, Scranton
Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, Wilkes-Barre
Williamsport Regional Hospital, Williamsport

The following facilities in our 13-county area have been designated as Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care:


​Bariatric Surgery

Gastric Banding

Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital, Sayre

Cardiac Care

Geisinger Wyoming Valley, Wilkes-Barre

Knee & Hip Replacement

Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, Wilkes-Barre
Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital, Sayre

The program currently recognizes facilities nationwide as Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care in the areas of:

  • Bariatric Surgery
  • Cardiac Surgery
  • Complex and Rare Cancers
  • Knee and Hip Replacement
  • Spine Surgery
  • Transplants

Transplants: All of our plans cover transplants at Blue Distinction Centers for Transplants at the highest level of coverage, including the following plans:

BlueCare® HMOAffordaBlueSM
BlueCare HMO PlusCHIP
BlueCare Custom PPOmyBlue Care
BlueCare QHD Custom PPOmyBlue® Access plans

When the initial services related to a transplant or possible transplant begin, remind your doctors to call our Utilization Management Department for prior approval. This will ensure that you receive high quality care at the best location for your needs.

Refer to your contract/policy for more information. Learn more about Blue Distinction Centers for Transplants or to find the closest facility for the specific transplant type. You have access to nearly 100 Blue Distinction Centers for Transplants across the country for the following transplant types:

  • Heart
  • Lung (deceased and living donor)
  • Combination heart bilateral lung
  • Liver (deceased and living donor)
  • Simultaneous pancreas kidney (SPK)
  • Pancreas (PAK/PTA)
  • Kidney (only in conjunction with SPK/PAK)
  • Bone marrow/stem cell (autologous and allogeneic)

Additional Resources:

Blue Distinction Overview

Your costs for care at Blue Distinction Centers depend on your health insurance plan and if the hospital is part of our local network or if it’s part of the national BlueCard network. Be sure to read your health plan documents for more information.

Blue Distinction Centers (BDC) met overall quality measures for patient safety and outcomes, developed with input from the medical community. A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for facilities located in its own service area; for details, contact your Local Blue Plan. Blue Distinction Centers+ (BDC+) also met cost measures that address consumers’ need for affordable healthcare. Each facility’s cost of care is evaluated using data from its Local Blue Plan. Facilities in CA, ID, NY, PA, and WA may lie in two Local Blue Plans’ areas, resulting in two evaluations for cost of care; and their own Local Blue Plans decide whether one or both cost of care evaluation(s) must meet BDC+ national criteria. National criteria for BDC and BDC+ are displayed on www.bcbs.com. Individual outcomes may vary. For details on a provider’s in-network status or your own policy’s coverage, contact your Local Blue Plan and ask your provider before making an appointment. Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for non-covered charges or other losses or damages resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers.