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BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina Start Maternity Blue Distinction Program, Recognize South Carolina Hospitals for Delivering Quality, Affordable Maternity Care

February 10, 2016

Columbia, SC  – In an effort to help prospective parents find hospitals that deliver quality, affordable maternity care, BlueCross® BlueShield® of South Carolina and BlueChoice® Health Plan of South Carolina announce the first hospitals in South Carolina to receive the Blue Distinction® Center and Blue Distinction Center+ for Maternity Care designations under the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

Nearly 4 million babies are born in the United States annually, making childbirth the most common cause of hospitalization. In 2014, the latest year for which statistics are available, South Carolina had 57,617 births, of which 10.8 percent were preterm (prior to 37 weeks gestation).

This new maternity care recognition program evaluates hospitals on several quality measures, including the percentage of newborns that fall into the category of early elective delivery, an ongoing concern in the medical community. Compared with babies born 39 weeks or later, early term infants face higher risks of infant death and respiratory ailments, such as respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia and respiratory failure, among other conditions. These babies also have a higher rate of admission to Neonatal Intensive Care Units. 

In addition, hospitals that receive a Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care designation agreed to meet requirements that align with principles that support evidence-based practices of care, as well as having initiated programs to promote successful breastfeeding, as described in the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative by Baby-Friendly USA or the Mother-Friendly Hospital program by the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) through its “Ten Steps of Mother-Friendly Care.” The program also evaluates hospitals on overall patient satisfaction, including a willingness to recommend the hospital to others.  

Blue Distinction Centers and Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care, an expansion of the national Blue Distinction® Specialty Care program, are hospitals recognized for delivering quality specialty care safely and effectively, based on objective measures developed with input from the medical community. To receive a Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care designation, a hospital must meet the same quality criteria as Blue Distinction Centers while also meeting requirements for cost efficiency. 

The Blues in South Carolina have designated 14 hospitals as Blue Distinction Centers and 25 as Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care in South Carolina. Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies across the nation have recognized more than 280 hospitals as Blue Distinction Centers and more than 650 hospitals as Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care. Hospitals recognized for these designations were assessed using a combination of publicly available quality information and cost measures derived from the companies’ medical claims.

The South Carolina hospitals designated as a “Blue Distinction Center” are: 
      • Charleston        Medical University of South Carolina 
      • Cheraw             McLeod Health Cheraw
      • Clinton              Laurens County Memorial Hospital
      • Dillon                McLeod Medical Center Dillon
      • Easley              Baptist Easley Hospital
      • Florence           McLeod Regional Medical Center 
      • Gaffney            Mary Black Health System
      • Georgetown      Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital
      • Greenwood       Self Regional Healthcare
      • Greer               Greer Memorial Hospital 
      • Hilton Head Hilton Head Hospital 
      • Mount Pleasant  Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant Hospital
      • Mullins Carolinas Hospital System - Marion 
      • Seneca Oconee Memorial Hospital

      The South Carolina hospitals designated as a “Blue Distinction Center+” are:  
        • Anderson AnMed Health 
        • Beaufort Beaufort Memorial Hospital
        • Camden  Kershaw Health
        • Charleston         Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital
        • Charleston         Trident Medical Center
        • Columbia Palmetto Health Baptist
        • Columbia Palmetto Health Richland
        • Conway  Conway Medical Center 
        • Florence Carolinas Hospital System
        • Greenville          Greenville Memorial Hospital
        • Greenville          St. Francis Eastside
        • Hartsville Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center
        • Lancaster Springs Memorial Hospital
        • Loris McLeod Loris Hospital
        • Manning Clarendon Memorial Hospital
        • Mount Pleasant  East Cooper Medical Center
        • Murrells Inlet Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital
        • Myrtle Beach Grand Strand Medical Center
        • Newberry Newberry County Memorial Hospital
        • Orangeburg  The Regional Medical Center 
        • Rock Hill Piedmont Medical Center
        • Spartanburg Mary Black Health System
        • Spartanburg Spartanburg Medical Center
        • Sumter              Palmetto Health Tuomey
        • Walterboro Colleton Medical Center

        Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality providers for their specialty care needs in cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery and others. 

        “Research shows that compared to other facilities, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients. On average, Blue Distinction Centers+ are also 20 percent more cost-efficient than non-Blue Distinction Center+ designated health care facilities. We congratulate these hospitals for meeting rigorous criteria, and we continue to commit to this and other quality-oriented efforts to help our members better manage their health,” said BlueCross Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Shawn Stinson, M.D. 

        For more information about the program, please visit

        About BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
        Headquartered in Columbia and operating in South Carolina for nearly 70 years, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The only South Carolina-owned and operated health insurance carrier, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina comprises more than 20 companies involved in health insurance services, U.S. DoD health program and Medicare contracts, other insurance and employee benefits services, and a philanthropic foundation that funds programs to improve health care and access to health care for South Carolinians.

        About BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina
        Headquartered in Columbia, BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BlueChoice HealthPlan has an “Accredited” status from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for its commercial business and for its Medicaid business. BlueChoice HealthPlan offers four categories of group health plans, as well as individual plans for adults and families, and a South Carolina Medicaid product.

        Both companies hold an A+ rating from A.M. Best.

        About the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
        The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for nearly 105 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 the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

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