January 16, 2020

Saint Anne’s Hospital Earns Blue Distinction® Center Designations

Fall River, Mass. – Blue Cross Blue Shield has selected Saint Anne’s Hospital as a Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement and as a Blue Distinction Center+ for Spine Surgery.

Part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program, Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated health care facilities that show a commitment to delivering high-quality patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community and leading accreditation and quality organizations. 

Excellence in knee and hip replacement

Saint Anne’s has earned Blue Distinction designations for knee and hip replacement since 2011. Facilities designated as Blue Distinction Centers® for Knee and Hip Replacement demonstrate expertise in total knee and total hip replacement surgeries, resulting in fewer patient complications and readmissions.

Knee and hip replacement procedures remain some of the most commonly performed, elective surgical procedures in the U.S., according to a 2018 study released by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. In 2014 there were 370,770 total hip replacements and 680,150 total knee replacements1Blue Distinction Center - Knee & Hip logo

In addition to Blue Distinction recognition, Saint Anne’s Center for Orthopedic Excellence also has earned advanced certification by The Joint Commission and the Women’s Choice Award as one of America’s best hospitals for orthopedics. It was the first hospital in 2011 to offer Mako® robotic-assisted joint replacement. To date, Saint Anne’s orthopedic surgeons have performed more than 1,000 partial knee, total knee and total hip replacements using the technology and overall perform more than 5,000 orthopedic procedures annually

Excellence in spine surgery

Spinal surgeries are among the most common and expensive elective surgeries in the U.S., according to the government-based Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which creates a significant opportunity to improve quality and value within the healthcare system. BDC+ Spine Surgery logo

Facilities designated as Blue Distinction Centers® for Spine Surgery demonstrate expertise in cervical and lumbar fusion, cervical laminectomy, and lumbar laminectomy/discectomy procedures, resulting in fewer patient complications and readmissions compared to other facilities. All designated facilities must maintain national accreditation. In addition to meeting these quality thresholds, facilities designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ are on average 20 percent more cost-efficient in an episode of care compared to other facilities. 

In addition to the Blue Distinction+ recognition, Saint Anne’s spinal surgery program was the first hospital in Massachusetts in 2019 to earn The Joint Commission’s “Gold Seal” certification for spinal surgery. It also was the first hospital in Massachusetts or Rhode Island in 2017 to offer robotic-assisted, minimally invasive spine surgery using the ExcelsiusGPSTM robotic-assisted navigation system for spinal surgery. To date, more than 500 robotic-assisted spine procedures have been performed.

Commitment to high quality care

In announcing the Blue Distinction awards, Saint Anne’s Hospital President Michael Bushell praised all involved in the surgical program, including orthopedic and spine surgeons, surgical teams, and inpatient and home care professionals, whose collective commitment to high quality care, including robotic-assisted surgery, has enabled the hospital to meet the robust selection criteria set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

“Saint Anne’s Hospital is proud to be recognized by Blue Cross Blue Shield for these prestigious designations,” said Bushell. “These distinctions reflect the dedication of our teams and the assurance that our patients and their referring providers can enjoy an exceptional quality of care.”

“The Blue Distinction Center program is one way Blue Cross Blue Shield Association plans across the country recognize health care facilities that share our commitment to quality and affordability,” said Bruce Nash, MD, chief physician officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. “By meeting quality, safety and outcomes measures developed collaboratively by the health care community, organizations that earn this designation in general provide better care, better results and a better patient experience for our members.”

The Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients and their primary care physicians find quality specialized care. Research for many of these programs shows that, compared to other providers, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate higher-quality and improved outcomes for patients. For more information about the program and for a complete listing of designated facilities, visit

About Blue Cross 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 one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Reports series and the national BCBS Health Indexsm. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube and follow us on Twitter.

About Blue Distinction Centers

Blue Distinction Centers (BDC) met overall quality measures for patient safety and outcomes, developed with input from the medical community. A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for facilities located in its own service area; for details, contact your Local Blue Plan. Blue Distinction Centers+ (BDC+) also met cost measures that address consumers’ need for affordable health care. Each facility’s cost of care is evaluated using data from its Local Blue Plan. Facilities in CA, ID, NY, PA, and WA may lie in two Local Blue Plans’ areas, resulting in two evaluations for cost of care; and their own Local Blue Plans decide whether one or both cost of care evaluation(s) must meet BDC+ national criteria. National criteria for BDC and BDC+ are displayed on Individual outcomes may vary. For details on a provider’s in-network status or your own policy’s coverage, contact your Local Blue Plan and ask your provider before making an appointment. Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for non-covered charges or other losses or damages resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers.

About Saint Anne’s Hospital

Founded by the Dominican Sisters of the Presentation in 1906, Saint Anne’s Hospital in Fall River, Massachusetts, is a full-service, acute care Catholic hospital with 211 beds and satellite locations in Dartmouth, Attleboro, Swansea, New Bedford, and Stoughton, Massachusetts. A member of Steward Health Care, Saint Anne’s provides nationally recognized patient- and family-centered inpatient care and outpatient clinical services to patients from surrounding Massachusetts and Rhode Island communities. Saint Anne’s key services include the Center for Orthopedic Excellence; bariatric surgery; multiple robotic-assisted surgical capabilities, including orthopedic surgery, spine surgery, and general surgery; Saint Anne’s Hospital Regional Cancer Center; two ambulatory surgery centers; the Center for Pain Management; and inpatient geriatric psychiatry services. Saint Anne’s has continued to earn The Leapfrog Group’s “Straight A’s” for patient safety since 2012 and the “Top Hospital” award for 2017 and 2018. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

1 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Changing Demographics in Primary and Revision Total Joint Arthroplasty, 2000-2014 Matthew Sloan, Neil P Sheth, March 06, 2018