Neurospine Center earns Blue Distinction® Center+ Designation

Media Contact

Susan Griffin
sgriffin3 [at]

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has selected South Shore Health’s NeuroSpine Center as a Blue Distinction Center+ for Spine Surgery, as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction Centers® are nationally designated healthcare facilities that show a commitment to delivering high-quality patient safety and better health outcomes.

Spinal surgeries are among the most common and expensive elective surgeries in the U.S., according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which creates a significant opportunity to improve quality and value within the healthcare system. There were more than 463,000 spinal fusion operations in the U.S. in 2014, and hospital costs for a fusion procedure average $28,9001, according to AHRQ.

South Shore Health’s Spine Center earned the Blue Distinction Center ® designation through a rigorous process which balances the guiding principles of quality, cost and access to care.

Facilities designated as Blue Distinction Centers® for Spine Surgery demonstrate expertise in cervical and lumbar fusion, cervical laminectomy and lumbar laminectomy/discectomy procedures, resulting in fewer patient complications and readmissions compared to other facilities. Designated facilities include hospitals (with and without an onsite Intensive Care Unit) and Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASC). All designated facilities must maintain national accreditation. In addition to meeting these quality thresholds, facilities designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ are on average 20 percent more cost-efficient in an episode of care compared to other facilities.

Quality is key: only those facilities that first meet nationally established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation as a Blue Distinction Center+.

“This designation confirms our commitment to high quality spine care at South Shore Health. It is particularly satisfying to have an outside organization, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, recognize how seriously we take our responsibility to patient outcomes, access and quality in spine care,” said Stephen H. Johnson, MDS, FACS, Director of Neurosurgery at South Shore Health.

“The Blue Distinction Center program is one way Blue Cross Blue Shield Association plans across the country recognize health care facilities that share our commitment to quality and affordability,” said Bruce Nash, MD, Chief Physician Officer Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. “By meeting quality, safety and outcomes measures developed collaboratively by the health care community, organizations that earn this designation in general provide better care, better results and a better patient experience for our members.”

The Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality care in the areas of bariatric surgery, cancer care, cardiac care, cellular immunotherapy, fertility care, gene therapy, knee and hip replacements, maternity care, spine surgery, substance use treatment and recovery, and transplants. Research for many of these programs shows that, compared to other providers, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients.

For more information about the program and for a complete listing of designated facilities, visit