BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Recognizes Facilities for Higher Quality in Maternity Care

Jan. 20, 2021

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina has recognized health care facilities in South Carolina with a Blue Distinction® Centers (BDC) or Blue Distinction Centers+ (BDC+) for Maternity Care designation, as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care Program. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated health care facilities that show expertise in delivering safer, more efficient and improved health outcomes compared with their peers. The Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care designation recognizes those facilities that demonstrate higher quality and value. Quality is key: Only those health care facilities that first meet Blue Distinction’s nationally established objective quality measures will be considered for designation as a Blue Distinction Center+.

The Blue Distinction Specialty Care Program has designated the following hospitals in the Midlands for having higher quality in maternity care:

BDC Designation

  • Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center
  • Coastal Carolina Hospital
  • Hilton Head Hospital
  • Prisma Health Baptist Easley Hospital
  • Prisma Health Baptist Parkridge Hospital
  • Prisma Health Richland Hospital
  • Self Regional Healthcare

BDC+ Designation

  • Aiken Regional Medical Centers
  • Beaufort Memorial Hospital
  • Bon Secours St. Francis Xavier Hospital
  • McLeod Clarendon
  • McLeod Regional Medical Center of the Pee Dee
  • MUSC Health Lancaster Medical Center
  • Newberry County Memorial Hospital
  • Piedmont Medical Center
  • Prisma Health Baptist Hospital
  • Prisma Health Greenville Memorial Hospital
  • Prisma Health Greer Memorial Hospital
  • Prisma Health Laurens County Hospital
  • Prisma Health Oconee Memorial Hospital
  • Prisma Health Patewood Hospital
  • Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital
  • The Regional Medical Center - Orangeburg
  • Spartanburg Medical Center
  • Summerville Medical Center

For more information about the program and for a complete listing of the designated providers, visit

Overall, the rates of episiotomies were 49% less those at Blue Distinction Centers (BDC and BDC+) than at those at non-Blue Distinction Centers. In 2018, BDC/BDC+ facilities across the country cared for more than 40% of Blue Cross and Blue Shield commercially insured women giving birth. Additionally, for BDC+ facilities, cost of care episodes for vaginal and cesarean births are 20% less than those at non-Blue Distinction Centers+ facilities.

The Maternity Care program was designed to respond to the clinical challenges in maternity care. Racial and ethnic disparities are persistent and widespread across maternal health care, primarily driven by socioeconomic status, geographic location and implicit provider bias. Compared with similarly developed countries such as Canada, Germany and Australia, the United State has the highest maternal mortality rate (MMR), at approximately 17.4 deaths per 100,000 live births, with the MMR steadily increasing since 2000. According to the CDC, non-Hispanic Black women are two to three times more likely to die from preventable or treatable pregnancy-related complications compared to white women. To help adjust this disparity, the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program calculated MMR rates for all facilities that applied for this designation and will provide these results to each applicant for their own quality improvement processes. 

In 2020, the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care Program was expanded beyond traditional outcome measures to include assessments of internal quality improvement, data collection and dissemination, and internal protocols that better address clinical quality and equity issues in maternity care. Facility evaluations are based on objective measures developed with input from the medical community and leading accreditation and quality organizations. The goal is to provide a best-in-class maternity care designation that gives new and expectant access to higher quality and affordable maternity care, close to home. 

To receive a Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care designation, a health care facility must collect race ethnicity data, have a maternal quality improvement program, and commence drills and simulations for adverse events. In addition, it must meet clinical outcome metrics at an even higher standard than the program’s last designation cycle. Specifically, the rate for low risk first time cesarean sections (NTSV c-section rate, PC-02), and has been aligned with the revised Healthy People 2020 goals

“Facilities that have earned a Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care designation have proven to deliver higher quality maternity care, by demonstrating use of evidence-based safety bundles created by Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM) to treat patients with certain conditions immediately before and after birth,” said Jennifer Atkins, vice president, Network Solutions, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA). “By now including use of AIM Maternal Safety Bundles in our evaluation process, we are also advancing our goal to improve the maternal health of minority and ethnic women in the United States.”

Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find 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. Research shows that, compared to other providers, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients.

All companies and trademarks listed above are the property of their respective owners and used for identification purposes only, and are in no way associated or affiliated with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Use of these trademarks does not imply endorsement. The Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® names and symbols and Blue Distinction® are registered trademarks of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

About BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina

Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., and operating in South Carolina for more than 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 programs 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 Blue Distinction Centers

Blue Distinction Centers (BDC) met overall quality measures, developed with input from the medical community. A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for providers 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 healthcare. Each provider’s cost of care is evaluated using data from its Local Blue Plan. Providers 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 noncovered charges or other losses or damages resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers.

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