Blue Distinction Program


The Blue Distinction Program integrates performance measures focusing on appropriateness of care and patient safety into a national framework for improving hospital-based care delivery.

To encourage the consistent approach to using data for the improvement of hospital care, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) in partnership with participating Blue Plans launched the Blue Distinction Hospital Measurement and Improvement Program. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield is proud to be a participating Plan in this program.

The program integrates performance measures focusing on appropriateness of care and patient safety into a national framework for improving hospital-based care delivery. The program includes measures from two public sources — clinical measures focusing on heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS); and patient safety indicator measures from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).


Blue Distinction Centers (BDC) met overall quality measures for patient safety and outcomes, developed with input from the medical community. Blue Distinction Centers+ (BDC+) also met cost measures that address consumers’ need for affordable healthcare. Individual outcomes may vary. National criteria is displayed on www.bcbs.com. A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for facilities located in its own service area. For details on Local Blue Plan Criteria, a provider’s in-network status, or your own policy’s coverage, contact your Local Blue Plan. 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. Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for damages or non-covered charges resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers.