The Blue Distinction® designation aids consumers and employers in choosing high-performing hospitalsOVERLAND PARK, Kan., April 2, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) has named Saint Luke's South Hospital as a Blue Distinction Center in Knee and Hip Replacement. The Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care® program is a national designation awarded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies to medical facilities that have demonstrated expertise in delivering quality specialty care – which expanded recently to include more robust quality measures focused on improved patient health and safety. Since 2006, consumers, medical providers and employers have relied on the Blue Distinction 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 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. Saint Luke's South Hospital is proud to have met the rigorous selection criteria set by the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program. "Our Hip & Knee Center is literally a 'hospital within the hospital,'" said Jani Johnson, President and CEO of Saint Luke's South Hospital. "Our joint replacement patients recover on a special wing away from sick patients. That, combined with our expert team of surgeons, nurses, and therapists, leads to outcomes that surpass national averages." "I would like to congratulate Saint Luke's South Hospital for being named a Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement," said David Gentile, Blue KC President and Chief Executive Officer. "The Blue Distinction program will improve the overall patient experience and provide better value to customers by offering the necessary tools to identify high-quality, cost-effective care." Research confirms that the 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 Plan, to tailor benefits to meet their individual quality objectives.