BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York has named Catholic Health hospitals Blue Distinction Centers® in Knee and Hip Replacement and Spine Surgery as part of its Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Mount St. Mary’s Hospital and Sisters of Charity Hospital and its St. Joseph Campus received Blue Distinction recognition for Knee and Hip Replacement. Kenmore Mercy and Sisters Hospital also received Blue Distinction recognition for Spine Surgery, with Kenmore Mercy named a Blue Distinction Center+ for Spine Surgery.

About Blue Distinction Centers® 

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 developed with input from the medical community and leading accreditation and quality organizations. In addition to quality benchmarks, facilities designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ are on average 20 percent more cost-efficient when compared to other facilities.

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. Spinal surgeries are also among the most common and expensive surgeries in the U.S., according to the government-based Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Catholic Health Hospitals Demonstrate Excellence

Catholic Health hospitals designated as Blue Distinction Centers® for Knee and Hip Replacement demonstrate expertise in joint replacement surgery, while those designated as Blue Distinction Centers® for Spine Surgery demonstrate expertise in cervical and lumbar fusion, cervical laminectomy and lumbar laminectomy/discectomy procedures. According to the designation, this expertise results in fewer complications and re-admissions for the particular specialty when compared to other facilities.  

“Quality and patient safety are at the heart of everything we do in Catholic Health and we are proud to be recognized by BlueCross BlueShield of WNY for meeting their robust selection criteria for knee and hip replacements and spine surgery set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program,” said Dr. Hans Cassagnol, Chief Clinical Officer and Physician Executive for Catholic Health. “Our skilled surgeons, specially trained nurses, clinicians and support staff help us attain these recognitions by delivering the highest quality care every day.”

The Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality care in the areas of bariatric surgery, cancer care, cardiac care, cellular immunotherapy, fertility care, gene therapy, knee and hip replacements, maternity care, spine surgery, substance use treatment and recovery. 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.

“BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York is pleased to recognize Catholic Health hospitals for providing exceptional knee and hip replacement, and spine surgery care,” said Dr. Thomas Schenk, Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. “The quality, safety and outcomes measures met through the Blue Distinction program reflect their commitment to providing better care, results and a better patient experience for our members.”

For more information about the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program and for a complete listing of designated facilities, visit

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