Columbia, S.C. – BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina today recognized 10 South Carolina hospitals, including Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, for delivering quality cardiac care as part of the national Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care® program. These noteworthy hospitals have been designated either as Blue Distinction Centers® for delivering quality care, or as Blue Distinction Centers+℠ for delivering quality care while also meeting cost-efficiency requirements.

Grand Strand Regional Medical Center qualified for the Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care designation.

The Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program was started in 2006 to help patients find quality providers for specialty care by identifying hospitals that meet objective, transparent, nationally consistent measures developed with input from the medical community. To receive a Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care® designation, a hospital must demonstrate success in meeting overall quality and safety criteria, such as preventing hospital-acquired infections, as well as cardiac-specific quality measures, such as lower rates of complications and deaths following procedures.

Hospitals receiving the Blue Distinction Center+ for Cardiac Care℠ designation, added to the program this year, have met the Blue Distinction Centers standards for quality while also demonstrating better cost efficiency relative to their peers. Quality is key: Only facilities that first meet Blue Distinction’s nationally established, objective quality measures will be considered.

“We congratulate these hospitals for meeting these very stringent standards. Our mutual commitment to quality contributes to helping our members better manage their care through the Blue Distinction Specialty Care Program,” said Dale Rish, BlueCross’ vice president of health care services.

“This designation is the result of a multidisciplinary approach to our cardiac program working together to provide optimal care,” said Doug White, CEO, Grand Strand Regional Medical Center. “We strive for the highest quality and outcomes with all of our patients and this designation helps educate individuals on the quality and safety of our cardiac program.”

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming nearly 600,000 lives each year. Cardiac procedures are among the most common major medical procedures provided by the U.S. health care system. More than 1 million procedures are performed annually, costing more than $28 billion. The Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program seeks to reduce this burden by empowering patients with the knowledge and tools to find both quality and value for their cardiac care.

Research shows that Blue Distinction Centers and Blue Distinction Centers+ demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients, with lower rates of complications and associated infections. Blue Distinction Centers+ are at least 20 percent more cost-efficient than nondesignated hospitals.

In addition to cardiac care, the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program identifies hospitals delivering quality care in bariatric surgery, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery, and transplants. These specialty areas comprise about 30 percent of inpatient hospital expenditures. For more information and for a complete listing of the designated facilities, visit

Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., and operating in South Carolina for more than 65 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 40 companies involved in health insurance services, U.S. DoD health program 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.

Blue Distinction Centers® (BDC) met overall quality measures for patient safety and outcomes, developed with input from the medical community. Blue Distinction Centers+℠ (BDC+) also met cost measures that address consumers’ need for affordable health care. Individual outcomes may vary. National criteria are displayed on A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for facilities located in its own service area. For details on Local Blue Plan Criteria, a provider’s in-network status, or your own policy’s coverage, contact your Local Blue Plan. Each hospital’s Cost Index is calculated with data from its Local Blue Plan. Hospitals in CA, ID, NY, PA, and WA may lie in two Local Blue Plans’ areas, resulting in two Cost Index figures; and their own Local Blue Plans decide whether one or both Cost Index figures must meet BDC+ national criteria. Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for damages or non-covered charges resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers.