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Blue Distinction® Specialty Care

Blue Distinction logo

The hospital you select can have a direct impact on the care you receive and your procedure results, but finding the right facility can sometimes be a challenge. The Blue Distinction Specialty Care recognition program identifies health care facilities with proven expertise in delivering specialty care. There are two designations:

  • Blue Distinction Centers - Health care facilities recognized for expertise in delivering specialty care.
  • Blue Distinction Centers+ - Health care facilities recognized for expertise and cost efficiency in delivering specialty care.

Blue Distinction focuses on high-volume, high-risk and high-cost areas of specialty care, including:

  • Bariatric Surgery centers provide a full range of bariatric surgical care services, including inpatient care, post-operative care, follow-up and patient education.

  • Cardiac Care centers provide a full range of cardiac care services, including inpatient cardiac care, cardiac rehabilitation, cardiac catheterization and cardiac surgery.

  • Cellular Immunotherapy centers focus on treatments used to help the immune system fight diseases, such as cancer. The program will continue to expand as new treatments become FDA approved.

  • Knee and Hip Replacement centers provide inpatient knee and hip replacement services, including total knee and total hip replacement surgeries

  • Maternity Care centers have demonstrated expertise and a commitment to quality care during the delivery episode of care, which includes both vaginal and cesarean section delivery. Hospitals are evaluated on several quality measures including the percentage of newborns that fall into the category of early elective delivery, an ongoing concern in the medical community.

  • Spine Surgery centers provide inpatient spine surgery services, including discectomy, fusion and decompression procedures.

  • Substance Use Treatment and Recovery centers provide residential, inpatient, intensive outpatient or partial hospitalization services to patients seeking treatment for substance use, including opioid use.

  • Transplants provide services, such as global pricing, financial savings analysis and global claims administration and support services.

When you are searching for a hospital or facility, look for the Blue Distinction designation in the national provider directory or use the CareFirst Find a Doctor tool to search within Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia.


NOTE: 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 health care. 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.