Blue Distinction Goes to Spine Surgery Program




NEWTON, Mass. (May, 2011) – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts recently recognized Newton-Wellesley Hospital (NWH) with a Blue Distinction® Designation for demonstrating reliability in delivering spine surgery with better overall outcomes for patients. Newton-Wellesley is one of several hospitals across the state that was awarded this designation for its Spine Surgery Program.

“We’re honored to receive this latest recognition,” said Louis Jenis, MD, Spine Surgeon at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. “It is a direct reflection of our medical team’s expertise and commitment to patient care. We are proud of our unique, multidisciplinary approach that sets Newton-Wellesley’s Spine Center apart, providing patients with a range of options to treat their spinal pain.”

Blue Distinction® is a nationwide program that recognizes medical facilities that meet a national set of objective, evidence-based thresholds for clinical quality developed in collaboration with expert clinicians and leading medical organizations.

Based on clinical data from hospitals and registries, research indicates that Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better, more consistent overall outcomes with fewer post-procedure complications and lower mortality rates. This designation provides consumers with a credible means of selecting facilities that best meet their individual specialty care needs. Newton-Wellesley Hospital was awarded similar Blue Distinction Designations recently for hip and knee replacement, as well as bariatric surgery.

“Improving quality of care is integral to transforming the health care system,” said Dr. John Fallon, Chief Physician Executive at BCBSMA. “Facilities like Newton-Wellesley Hospital are helping Massachusetts achieve this by ensuring patients receive the safest, most effective specialty care.”

The selection criteria used to evaluate facilities were developed with input from a panel of expert physicians. To be designated as a Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery, the following types of criteria were evaluated:

  • Established acute care inpatient facility, including intensive care, emergency care, and a full range of patient support services with full accreditation by a CMS-deemed national accreditation organization
  • Experience and training of program surgeons, including case volume
  • Quality management programs, including surgical checklists as well as tracking and evaluation of clinical outcomes and process of care
  • Multi-disciplinary clinical pathways and teams to coordinate and streamline care, including transitions of care
  • Shared decision making and preoperative patient education

The Blue Distinction designation is awarded by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies to medical facilities that have demonstrated expertise in delivering quality healthcare in the areas of bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacement, spine surgery and transplants. The program is part of The Blues® efforts to collaborate with physicians and medical facilities to improve the overall quality and safety of specialty care.

The programs and services offered by The Spine Center at Newton-Wellesley Hospital are appropriate for anyone who suffers from back and neck-related pain that interferes with work, recreational activities or daily living functions. Spine Center specialists care for the full range of spinal disorders affecting the cervical, thoracic and lumbar areas of the spine. Physical therapists are also on-hand for joint mobilization and manipulation, therapeutic exercise program development, ergonomic consultation and patient education in Newton-Wellesley Hospital’s state-of-the-art rehabilitation center.

Spine surgeons are highly skilled in all modern techniques ranging from minimally invasive disc surgery to complex fusion for spinal trauma and degenerative conditions. And for those patients who are looking to find non-surgical options for back pain, The Spine Center’s physiatrists and anesthesiologists specialize in pain management and interventional therapies such as nerve block procedures, injections and medical acupuncture.

For more information about spine surgery at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, call CareFinder at (866) NWH-DOCS (694-3627) or visit

Newton-Wellesley is a full system member of Partners HealthCare System, Inc. (PHCS), a nonprofit organization that includes acute care hospitals Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's/Faulkner Hospitals, The North Shore Medical Center, and specialty hospitals McLean Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, as well as Dana-Farber/Partners CancerCare, and the community-based doctors and hospitals of Partners Community HealthCare, Inc.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts ( was founded 73 years ago by a group of community-minded business leaders. Today, headquartered in Boston, BCBSMA provides coverage to nearly 3 million members, 2.5 million in Massachusetts. BCBSMA believes in rewarding doctors and hospitals for delivering safe and effective care, and in empowering patients to take more responsibility, become educated health care consumers and become stronger partners with their doctors. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

Rachel Kagno
Public Affairs & Marketing
Newton-Wellesley Hospital

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