Mercy – Dubuque Recognized for Higher Quality in Maternity Care

Mercy – Dubuque Recognized for Higher Quality in Maternity Care

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Wellmark Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® has recognized Mercy Medical Center – Dubuque with a Blue Distinction® Center+ for Maternity Care designation as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated hospitals that show expertise in delivering improved patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community.

Nearly four million babies are born in the U.S. annually, making childbirth the most common cause of hospitalization, and cesarean sections are the most common operating room procedures, according to National Centers for Health Statistics and the Agency for Health care Research & Quality (AHRQ). Reducing early elective delivery is an area of focus for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). According to Health Affairs, elective inductions result in more cesarean deliveries and a longer maternal hospitalization.

The Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care program evaluates hospitals on quality measures for vaginal and cesarean delivery. To receive a Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care designation, a hospital must also demonstrate cost-efficiency.

Quality is key: Only those hospitals that first meet Blue Distinction’s nationally-established, objective quality measures are considered for designation as a Blue Distinction Center+.

"We are very proud to be recognized by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield for meeting the rigorous Blue Distinction Center+ quality and cost selection criteria for maternity care," said Kay Takes, president of Mercy Medical Center – Dubuque and Dyersville. "From compassionate and innovative care for new moms to providing specialized care for infants in the area's only Level II Regional NICU, Mercy will continue to deliver quality maternity services to each and every family we have the privilege to serve."

Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) companies across the nation have recognized more than 1,000 hospitals as Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care. Hospitals recognized with this designation are assessed using a combination of quality information supplied by hospitals and cost measures derived from BCBS companies’ medical claims.

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, maternity care, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery, and transplants, while encouraging health care professionals to improve the care they deliver. Research shows that, compared to other hospitals, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients. On average, Blue Distinction Centers+ are also 20 percent more cost-efficient than non-Blue Distinction Center+ designated hospitals.

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

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