St. Mary Medical Center’s quality knee and hip replacement surgeries earn Blue Distinction Center designation from Anthem Blue Cross

By Staff Reports

(Apple Valley)– Anthem Blue Cross has selected St. Mary Medical Center as a Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement, part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

This recognition comes as St. Mary in Apple Valley resumes non-emergent surgical procedures, including joint replacements, following the initial outbreak earlier this year of COVID-19. The hospital has instituted numerous safety layers to protect the general hospital population from the virus.

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.

“We had several patients whose knee and hip replacement procedures were delayed and we’re gratified we now are providing the help they need in an environment where safety is the first priority,” said orthopedic surgeon Eric Bava, M.D. “The timing of this quality recognition coincides with our return to normal.”

Dr. Bava said surgeons and patients alike are eager to reschedule procedures. Patients living in pain will now have the warm summer month to rehabilitate, he said.

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. Designated facilities include hospitals (with and without onsite itensive care units) and ambulatory surgery centers that provide outpatient procedures. All designated facilities must maintain national accreditation and ambulatory center also are required to have advanced orthopedic certifications.

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 replacements.

St. Mary Medical Center is pleased to be recognized by Anthem Blue Cross for meeting the robust selection criteria for knee and hip replacements set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

The Blue Distinction program is another example of Anthem Blue Cross’s commitment to ensuring our members have access to high-quality specialty care delivered safely and effectively though our in-network providers,” said John Yao, Chief Medical Officer at Anthem Blue Cross California. “We congratulate St. Mary Medical Center on this distinction and are honored to recognize their work.”

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.

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

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