Pella Regional Earns Healthcare Designation

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Pella Regional Health Center was recognized by Wellmark® Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® with a Blue Distinction® Centers+ (BDC+) for Maternity Care designation, as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. To earn this designation, each facility must safely deliver cost-effective, quality care.

The Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program plays a key role in the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s (BCBSA) National Health Equity Strategy aimed at reducing racial health disparities across the care spectrum and improving patient outcomes for all Americans. To align with this strategy, the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program enhanced its quality and measurement standards to recognize higher-quality facilities that have taken action to respond effectively to obstetric emergencies, reduce racial disparities and improve maternal health outcomes.

Based on data from the current designation cycle, facilities designated under the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program demonstrate higher-quality care compared to non-Blue Distinction Center facilities, with overall average rates of 26 percent lower episiotomies, 60 percent fewer elective deliveries and 17 percent lower cesarean births—all of which point to healthier outcomes for patients. BDC+ designated facilities also exhibited an average savings of 21 percent for maternity care.

“We are proud to receive this distinction as it represents our dedication to providing quality maternity care,” said Jody Van Veen, Chief Nursing Officer at Pella Regional. “It is important for those expecting or planning a pregnancy to have this information when they are making a choice of where they will deliver. Our regional presence and growing volumes, including a record-breaking 610 births in 2023, demonstrate our focus on high quality, safe, and compassionate care.”

The Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program’s selection criteria were devised to close clinical care gaps and reduce inequities that persist throughout the maternal care spectrum. The selection criteria include components of BCBSA’s that dismantle the cultural, operational and structural barriers that create inequities in maternal care.

To be designated under this program, each applicant facility was evaluated on a combination of objective data on patient outcomes as well as the practices implemented to reduce racial disparities and improve maternal health outcomes, such as:

  1. 1. Using evidence-based best practices to respond effectively to obstetric emergencies
  2. 2. Offering unconscious bias training
  3. 3. Participating in the regional Perinatal Quality Collaborative
  4. 4. Having doula support available on the maternity care team
  5. 5. Collecting race, ethnicity and language data
  6. 6. Having a program dedicated to quality improvements in maternal care
  7. 7. Running drills and simulations to prepare providers to deal with a range of obstetric emergencies
  8. 8. Demonstrating health outcomes that exceed the selection criteria from our program’s previous evaluation cycle

Pella Regional Health Center is proud to be recognized by Wellmark for meeting the rigorous quality selection criteria for maternity care set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find low-cost, quality specialty care in the areas of bariatric surgery, cancer care, cardiac care, cellular immunotherapy, fertility care, gene therapy, knee and hip replacement, maternity care, spine surgery, substance use treatment and recovery, and transplants, while encouraging health care professionals to improve the care they deliver. 

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