University of Florida Health Shands Hospital has been designated a Blue Distinction Center in the area of transplant care by Florida Blue as part of a national program of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
The designation recognizes hospitals that deliver quality specialty care based on measures for patient safety and health outcomes, as well as transplant-specific quality metrics — including transplant volume and outcomes, consumer access, facility accreditation and cost.
Over the last 50 years, the UF Health Shands Transplant Center has performed more than 7,000 organ transplants. The multidisciplinary transplant team, which comprises more than 100 staff members, provides life-saving care for adult and pediatric patients receiving heart, lung, kidney, pancreas and liver transplants.
“This recognition by a long-standing and high-quality insurer in both Florida and the United States indicates the excellence in clinical outcomes we achieve in our solid organ transplant programs,” said Stephan J. Moore, M.H.A., administrative director of the UF Health Shands Transplant Center. “We look forward to a longstanding relationship with Blue Distinction as we continue to grow our programs and continue to excel as a leader in transplantation in our region.”
UF Health Shands Hospital is a Blue Distinction Center for Transplant in more areas than any other hospital in the state, including adult heart, pediatric heart, adult liver deceased donor, pediatric bone marrow/stem cell and adult bone marrow/stem cell.
In addition, UF Health is one of only four centers nationwide to receive the Blue Distinction Center+ designation in the area of adult lung transplants. A program with this designation meets the same requirements as a Blue Distinction Center, but is also notable for cost efficiency relative to its peers.
“We are delighted to become part of the Blue Distinctions network,” said John Wingard, M.D., director of the bone marrow transplant program at UF Health. “Our participation will provide greater convenience and some cost savings to the patients we serve, and it assures our patients that we have in place a rigorous quality-management program to assure the highest quality of care.”
The Blue Distinction Centers recognition program launched in 2006 with the goal of helping patients find quality providers for specialty care needs such as bariatric surgery, cardiac care and rare cancer treatment. These specialty areas account for approximately 30 percent of inpatient hospital costs, according to Florida Blue.
Both Blue Distinction Centers and Blue Distinction Centers+ have a proven track record for delivering better results — including fewer complications and readmissions — than hospitals without these recognitions, according to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield website. The selection criteria used to evaluate facilities were developed with input from the medical community.
In 2013, the program added Blue Distinction Centers+, a new designation level that recognizes hospitals that deliver both quality and cost-efficient specialty care.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association consists of 37 independently operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield member companies that provide health care coverage for more than 100 million Americans. Florida Blue, Florida’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield Company, is the state’s largest health insurer.
UF Health Shands Hospital has previously received Blue Distinction Center+ designation in the areas of spine surgery and knee and hip replacement.