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September 26, 2011

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is pleased to announce that Wesley Medical Center, Wichita, has been designated as a Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery® and a Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement® as a result of demonstrating better overall quality of care and patient results in these areas, according to Andrew C. Corbin, BCBSKS president/CEO.

Blue Distinction® is a national designation awarded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies to medical facilities that have demonstrated expertise in delivering quality health care in several areas including cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacement, spine surgery, transplants or bariatric surgery. Wesley Medical Center is just the fourth facility designated by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas as a Blue Distinction Center.

To earn this designation, Wesley was evaluated based on an objective, evidence-based selection criteria established with input from expert physicians and medical organizations. The goal of Blue

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Distinction is to identify medical facilities that deliver better overall quality and medical outcomes for a specific area of specialty care, helping patients and doctors to make more informed hospital choices.

“Our Blue Distinction program recognizes hospitals that demonstrate higher levels of performance in providing better specialty care for patients,” Corbin said. “Improving quality of care is integral to transforming the health care system. Facilities like Wesley Medical Center are helping Kansas achieve this by offering patients safe specialty care delivered by medical teams with expertise.”

“Everyone at Wesley, especially those directly responsible for its spine surgery, and knee and hip replacement programs, should take pride in being named as Blue Distinction Centers,” he said.

“Wesley is committed to providing quality care and better overall outcomes for spine surgery, knee and hip replacement procedures. We are excited to receive Blue Distinction honors from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas and have our programs and dedicated staff recognized for their accomplishments,” stated Hugh Tappan, president/CEO, Wesley Medical Center.

Wesley’s Rapid Recovery Program provides faster recovery and better outcomes for total hip or total knee surgery patients. It’s a comprehensive program that starts even before surgery, with a 90-minute program in which hospital staff explains what to expect during hospitalization and afterward. Program participants include the patient, family, nurses, physical and occupational therapists and care managers who help plan for care needs after dismissal from the hospital.

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Spine surgery at Wesley is performed with the latest in spine surgery technology – the O-Arm® Surgical Imaging System. Using introperative scans and technology similar to GPS, the O-Arm enables the surgeon to clearly visualize anatomy in three dimensions during surgery and see the exact placement of surgical instrumentation. Virtual simulation of the placement of screws, implants, and other devices using the individual patient’s image, helps a surgeon decide which options would be best before putting the actual items in place. This technology offers precise navigation, fewer and smaller incisions, preservation of healthy tissue, minimization of complications, shorter recovery time and the reduction of repeat surgeries. Wesley is the only Kansas hospital outside of the Kansas City area to have this spine surgery technology.

“Wesley’s Rapid Recovery Program and spine surgery technology provide better recovery outcomes for our patients than other hospitals and care facilities in our region. The designation represents what we at Wesley already know, we are the best hospital for spine, hip and knee surgery,” shared Dr. Francie Ekengren, chief medical officer, Wesley Medical Center.

Blue Distinction selection criteria cover a broad range of quality measures and are publicly available on By earning the designations, Wesley Medical Center has demonstrated:

  • Established programs, performing required annual volumes for certain procedures
  • Appropriate experience of its care teams
  • Full facility accreditation by a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)-deemed national accreditation organization
  • Adherence to evidence-based clinical care measures and guidelines
  • A comprehensive quality management program

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Blue Distinction is part of The Blues® efforts to collaborate with physicians and medical facilities to improve the overall quality and safety of specialty care. To learn more about the Blue Distinction designation, visit

Other Blue Distinction Centers in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas service area are Labette Health, Parsons, knee and hip replacement; St. Francis Medical Center, Topeka, spine surgery, bariatric surgery, and knee and hip replacement; and Stormont-Vail HealthCare, Topeka, spine surgery, and knee and hip replacement.


About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSKS is the state's largest health insurer, serving all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte.

About Wesley Medical Center

Wesley Medical Center is an acute care hospital providing a full range of diagnostic and treatment services for patients throughout Kansas and northern Oklahoma. Every year, more than 25,000 adults and children are inpatients and more than 6,000 babies are born at Wesley. Wesley is especially also noted for its emergency care, Children’s Center, cardiovascular services, and pediatric care. It features the area’s only Pediatric ER and Gamma Knife Center. Wesley was founded in 1912 by the Southwestern Conference of the Medical Methodist Church and became an HCA facility in 1985. To learn more about Wesley Medical Center, please visit

Note: Designation as Blue Distinction Centers means these facilities' overall experience and aggregate data met objective criteria established in collaboration with expert clinicians' and leading professional organizations' recommendations. Individual outcomes may vary. To find out which services are covered under your policy at any facilities, please call your local Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield Plan; and call your provider before making an appointment, to verify the most current information on its network participation and Blue Distinction status. Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any of its Licensees are responsible for any damages, losses, or non-covered charges that may result from using this resource or receiving care from a Blue Distinction provider.