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CHI Health St. Elizabeth earns Blue Distinction® Center Designation for Quality in Spine Surgery

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska has selected CHI Health St. Elizabeth as a Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery, as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated health care facilities shown to deliver improved patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that were developed by Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies with input from the medical community.

Spinal surgeries are one of the most frequent types of elective surgeries in the U.S. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, there were more than 465,000 spinal fusion operations in the U.S. in 2011, a procedure commonly done in the lumbar region of the lower back to treat back pain.

Hospitals 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 hospital readmissions compared to other hospitals. Designated hospitals must also maintain national accreditation to be designated.

CHI Health St. Elizabeth is proud to be recognized by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska for meeting the rigorous selection criteria for spine surgery set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

 “We are grateful for the excellent spine surgeons who trust us to care for their patients,” said Scott Haas, division director of the CHI Health Orthopedic and Spine Service Line. “Our high quality of care and excellent outcomes are certainly the result of our team approach. Physicians, nurses and staff working together to ensure each patient’s success. Our nurse navigators guide each patient through the entire process that begins with educating and preparing them for surgery weeks in advance and continuing to serve as a resource for any questions long after they leave the hospital.”

Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality providers for their specialty care needs in the areas of bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacements, maternity care, spine surgery and transplants, while encouraging health care professionals to improve the care they deliver.

“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska is proud to announce that CHI Health St. Elizabeth has been designated a Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery. This recognition affirms the high quality and cost-efficient care provided at this facility.  We’re pleased to have CHI Health St. Elizabeth as part of our network for our member’s spine surgery needs,” said Deb Esser, MD, Quality Medical Director.

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

1Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)