Musculoskeletal Institute Recognized for Quality in Spine Surgery, Joint Replacement


The University of Connecticut Health Center’s New England Musculoskeletal Institute is now designated a “Blue Distinction Center” for both spine surgery and total joint replacement.

“Blue Distinction” is a designation from the BlueCross BlueShield Association recognizing health care facilities for their expertise in the safe, efficient, and cost-effective delivery of quality specialty care.

“We’re proud to have met the rigorous selection criteria set by the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care programs,” says Dr. Augustus Mazzocca, interim director of the New England Musculoskeletal Institute and chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. “This national designation is a reflection of the outstanding care we provide for all patients needing total knee and hip replacement or spinal surgery.”

The Health Center has been designated as a “Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement” for meeting nationally established quality care and outcomes criteria, and as a “Blue Distinction Center+ for Spine Surgery” for meeting those criteria plus meeting cost measures that address the need for affordable health care.

“What makes this especially gratifying for us in spine surgery is, the ‘plus’ designation recognizes our group for total value, meaning quality, outcomes, and cost efficiencies,” says Dr. Hilary Onyiuke, chief neurosurgeon and director of the Comprehensive Spine Center.

According to Anthem, Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients, with lower rates of complications and readmissions than their peers.

The selection criteria used to evaluate facilities were developed with input from the medical community, and include general quality and safety metrics plus program-specific metrics.

“The UConn Health Center has demonstrated an expertise and a commitment to quality care, resulting in better overall outcomes for patients seeking inpatient spine surgery services, as well as for patients of comprehensive inpatient knee and hip replacement services,” says Dr. Peter Bowers, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield chief medical officer.

Anthem says the program provides consumers with tools to help them make better informed health care decisions, and that these results will also enable employers to tailor benefits to meet their individual quality objectives.

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