Trident Health System February 25, 2013

North Charleston, S.C. – The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) has announced that Trident and Summerville Medical Centers have been recognized as Blue Distinction Centers. TMC and SMC have met nationally established quality care and outcomes criteria for Knee and Hip Replacement. TMC and SMC are two of three Charleston area hospitals who have received this national recognition.

Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care® now includes new cost-efficiency measures, as well as more robust quality measures focused on improved patient health and safety. Since 2006, consumers, medical providers and employers have relied on this program to identify hospitals delivering quality care in Bariatric Surgery, Cardiac Care, Complex and Rare Cancers, Knee and Hip Replacements, Spine Surgery, and Transplants.

“The Blue Distinction Center recognition is a testament to the quality of the process that has been put in place within Trident Health. From the time a total joint patient attends a preoperative class until the time that the detailed discharge arrangements are made; the staff focuses on quality of care,” said Dr. James Dalton, Jr. of South Carolina Sports Medicine.

“The number of hip and knee replacements performed in the U.S. over the past few years has been increasing and this trend will continue as the population continues to age. Hip and Knee replacements have a tremendous success rate for improving the quality for patients. Trident Health is striving to provide quality, compassionate care to its patients while improving their quality of life,” said Dr. Eric Stem, a physician with Lowcountry Orthopaedics.

The first of these new designations have now been awarded in the areas of Spine Surgery and Knee and Hip Replacement. More than 185 facilities are being recognized as Blue Distinction Centers for their expertise in delivering specialty care. In addition, more than 460 are being recognized as Blue Distinction Centers+ for their expertise and cost efficiency in delivering specialty care. Quality is key: only those facilities that first meet Blue Distinction’s nationally established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation as Blue Distinction Centers+. The national program will continue to expand into additional specialty care areas which, when complete, will represent more than 30 percent of inpatient hospital expenditures. For a complete listing of newly designated facilities, please visit

Research confirms that these newly designated Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients, with lower rates of complications and readmissions than their peers. The program provides consumers with tools to help them make better informed healthcare decisions. These results will also enable employers, working with their local Blue Plans, to tailor benefits to meet their individual quality and cost objectives.

Building on the success of the other Blue Distinction designations, The Blues® are continuing to expand the program to include a primary care focused designation – Blue Distinction Total CareSM – which will designate PCMHs and ACOs that meet nationally consistent criteria for quality, efficiency, and patient experience.

“The healthcare market is changing rapidly and the cost of care is continuing to rise. It is now more important than ever to equip providers, consumers, and employers with helpful information to assist them in making important healthcare decisions,” said Scott P. Serota, president and CEO, BCBSA. “Quality remains the benchmark for our national network that serves millions of customers. The Blue Distinction program will improve the overall patient experience and provide better value to our customers by offering the necessary tools to identify high-quality, cost-effective care.”

The Blues are proud to recognize and distinguish providers that have demonstrated a dedication and commitment to delivering quality care and doing so efficiently, along with helping consumers and employers select quality, cost-efficient facilities that are well suited for their treatment needs. For more information about the Blue Distinction program, please visit