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REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (April 13, 2021) - Dignity Health Sequoia Hospital is proud to be recognized by Blue Shield of California 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 20001. 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 women2.
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.
Dignity Health Sequoia Hospital is proud to be recognized by Blue Shield of California for meeting the rigorous BDC quality selection criteria for maternity care set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.
“Hospitals play a vital role in helping mothers and babies get off to a healthy start,” said Sequoia Hospital President Bill Graham. “That the Sequoia Hospital Birth Center has been distinguished in this way, particularly in a region rich with world-class health care providers, speaks to our special brand of maternity care. Our families benefit as much from the latest prenatal and neonatal technology as they do from our kind and personalized care, helping them to feel safe, comfortable, and confident during their stay.”
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.
“Blue Shield of California congratulates Sequoia Hospital on their Blue Distinction® Centers for Maternity Care designation, especially as it pertains to addressing health inequities. The racial and ethnic disparities in maternal care within the U.S. are unacceptable and health care providers play an important role in addressing the underlying causes of suboptimal care and outcomes. I am thrilled that Sequoia has been able to develop a comprehensive quality improvement program to help address and provide leadership on this crucial topic,” said Dr. Seth Glickman, chief health officer of Blue Shield of California.
Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality specialty care in the areas of bariatric surgery, cancer care, cardiac care, cellular immunotherapy, fertility care, gene therapy, knee and hip replacement, maternity care, spine surgery, substance use treatment and recovery, and transplants, while encouraging healthcare professionals to improve the care they deliver. Research shows that, compared to other providers, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients.
All companies and trademarks listed above are the property of their respective owners and used for identification purposes only, and are in no way associated or affiliated with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Use of these trademarks does not imply endorsement. The Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® names and symbols and Blue Distinction® are registered trademarks of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
1 = https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternal-mortality/pregnancy-mortality-surveillance-system.htm
2 = https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6835a3.htm?s_cid=mm6835a3_w
About Dignity Health Sequoia Hospital
Dignity Health Sequoia Hospital is an accredited, not-for-profit community hospital providing innovative and exceptional health care for generations of Bay Area residents. Sequoia’s Heart and Vascular Institute is a nationally known pioneer in advanced cardiac care. Sequoia has received national recognition from Healthgrades for superior patient safety and was named as one of America’s top 100 hospitals for cardiac care. Our Total Joint Replacement program is a designated Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement, and our Birth Center is consistently ranked as a favorite among Peninsula families. We are also known for our comprehensive emergency care and leading-edge tomosynthesis 3-D mammogram technology. Our state-of-the-art inpatient pavilion combines the most advanced medical and surgical services with a unique healing environment, including private, spacious rooms and inviting garden areas. To learn more, please visit dignityhealth.org/sequoia. To support programs at Dignity Health Sequoia Hospital, visit the Sequoia Hospital Foundation.
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About Blue Shield of California
Blue Shield of California strives to create a healthcare system worthy of its family and friends that is sustainably affordable. Blue Shield of California is a tax paying, nonprofit, independent member of the Blue Shield Association with over 4.5 million members, over 7,500 employees and more than $21 billion in annual revenue. Founded in 1939 in San Francisco and now headquartered in Oakland, Blue Shield of California and its affiliates provide health, dental, vision, Medicaid and Medicare healthcare service plans in California. The company has contributed more than $150 million to Blue Shield of California Foundation in the last four years to have an impact on California communities.
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About the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health IndexSM. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out our blog.
About Blue Distinction Centers
Blue Distinction Centers (BDC) met overall quality measures, developed with input from the medical community. A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for providers 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 provider’s cost of care is evaluated using data from its Local Blue Plan. Providers 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 noncovered charges or other losses or damages resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers.