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WakeMed News Releases

August 14, 2013
Hospital system among first to receive new BCBSNC designation for delivering quality and cost-efficient cardiac procedures

RALEIGH, N.C. (August 13, 2013) – WakeMed Health & Hospitals has been named a Blue Distinction Center+ for Cardiac CareSM by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. Home to the busiest heart program in the state, WakeMed is one of the first hospitals nationwide to meet this new designation’s rigorous cardiac care criteria and is pleased to be recognized for its cardiac expertise and efficiency in delivering specialty care.

To be considered for this designation, WakeMed met and exceeded nationally established quality-focused criteria that emphasize patient safety and outcomes, developed with input from the medical community, and also met cost measures that address affordable healthcare. Examples of quality and safety criteria include preventing hospital-acquired infection as well as lower rates of complications and death following cardiac surgery and non-surgical cardiac procedures such as such as cardiac stent placement.

“The first open heart surgery in Wake County was performed at WakeMed 45 years ago, and we remain committed to leadership in cardiovascular care,” commented Betsy Gaskins-McClaine, vice president, WakeMed Heart & Vascular Services. “This designation reflects our commitment to partnering with patients, families, physicians and clinicians to achieve the highest quality of heart health and well-being.”

The Blue Distinction Centers+ is a new addition to the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care®program. The program was established in 2006 to help patients find quality providers for their specialty care needs while encouraging healthcare professionals to improve the care they deliver.

“We are pleased to be working with hospitals that share our commitment to high quality care in North Carolina,” said Lisa Cade, vice president of network management for BCBSNC. “Through the Blue Distinction Specialty Care Program, customers are able to take control of their health and find great care at a reasonable price.”

Research shows that Blue Distinction Centers+ demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients, with lower rates of complications following certain cardiac procedures and lower rates of healthcare associated infections, compared with their peers. Blue Distinction Centers+ are also 20 percent more cost-efficient for those same procedures.

WakeMed treats more heart patients than any other hospital in the state. Using the latest technology and advanced techniques, WakeMed’s staff of cardiologists, surgeons, cardiovascular specialists, midlevel providers, nurses and other professionals performed more than 21,000 procedures last year.

The Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program identifies hospitals delivering quality care in bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery, and transplants. These specialty areas comprise approximately 30 percent of inpatient hospital expenditures. For more information about the program and for a complete listing of the designated facilities, please visit

About WakeMed Health & Hospitals
WakeMed Health & Hospitals is a private, not-for-profit health care organization based in Raleigh, N.C. The 870-bed system comprises a network of health care facilities throughout Wake and Johnston Counties. Centers of excellence include cardiac and vascular care, women’s and children’s services, physical rehab, emergency and trauma, orthopedics, neurosciences, home care and numerous wellness and community outreach programs. WakeMed’s team of 8,500 employees, 1,500 volunteers, more than 1,200 affiliated physicians, and 240 physicians employed by WakeMed Physician Practices serve the residents of North Carolina using the most advanced technologies to ensure the finest in health care. For more information, visit

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.74 million members, including approximately 1 million served on behalf of other Blue Plans. For generations, the company has served its customers by offering health insurance at a competitive price and has served the people of North Carolina through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina was recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Institute in 2012 and 2013. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit BCBSNC online at All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

About BCBSA:
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 38 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for 100 million members – one-in-three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.
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