Northwest Health - Porter has been recognized by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield with a Blue Distinction® Centers (BDC) for Maternity Care designation, as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.
Racial and ethnic disparities are persistent and widespread across maternal healthcare, primarily driven by socioeconomic status, geographic location, and implicit provider bias. Compared to similarly developed countries such as Canada, Germany, and Australia, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate (MMR), at approximately 17.4 deaths per 100,000 live births, with the MMR steadily increasing since 2000. According to the CDC, non-Hispanic Black women are two to three times more likely to die from preventable or treatable pregnancy-related complications compared to white women.
To help address these gaps in care and to help ensure the better health of mothers, The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association enhanced its quality evaluation for the Maternity Care program to address key factors driving the United States’ maternal health crisis such as preventable or treatable pregnancy-related conditions, high utilization of Caesarean sections, and racial and ethnic disparities in maternal healthcare. In 2018, facilities that received designations under the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program cared for more than 40% of Blue Cross and Blue Shield commercially insured women giving birth across the country.
Northwest Health – Porter meets the rigorous BDC quality selection criteria for maternity care set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program as part of its commitment to ensure the better health of mothers and help reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the delivery of maternal care.
“This recognition as a Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care demonstrates the high quality of care delivered by our maternity care nurses, support team, and obstetricians. This team was recently honored when the State of Indiana granted them with both a level 3 Obstetrics and level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit designation (with 4 being the highest) indicating the complex level of care provided in the hospital and in our OB Emergency Department. Becoming a Blue Distinction Center is yet another indication of their expertise and skills.” said Judy Davidson, Chief Nursing Officer for Northwest Health – Porter.
In 2020, the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care Program was expanded beyond traditional outcome measures to include assessments of internal quality improvement, data collection and dissemination, and internal protocols that better address clinical quality and equity issues in maternity care. New in the evaluation cycle, facilities must collect race ethnicity data, have a maternal quality improvement program, commence drills and simulations for adverse events, and have dedicated
protocols and procedures for the management of hypertension and hemorrhage. In addition, they must meet clinical outcome metrics at a higher standard than required previously. Specifically, the rate for low risk first time cesarean sections (NTSV c-section rate, PC-02) has been aligned with the revised Healthy People 2020 goals. Facilities eligible for the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity care show statistically significant differences in key clinical outcomes compared to their peers.
“With programs like Blue Distinction, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is helping our members make informed decisions about their healthcare,” said Beth Keyser, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana. “We are committed to providing access to quality care that will lead to better health outcomes for the people we serve. We appreciate the partnership with Northwest Health – Porter and the care they provide to Anthem members.”