LEWISTON – Regence Blue Shield of Idaho has designated St. Joseph Regional Medical Center (SJRMC) as a Blue Distinction Centerfor Spine Surgery. Blue Distinction Centers for Spine Surgery are part of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association’s expansion of its Blue Distinction® designation.
“We are very appreciative to be designated a Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery,” said Howard Hayes, SJRMC President & CEO. “This is truly made possible collectively by a professional staff that lives the Mission and Philosophy at St. Joe’s, and the surgical leadership provided by Doctors William Hill, Donald Soloniuk and Gregory Dietrich.”
“We’re honored to partner with a facility such as St. Joseph that has earned this distinction,” said Richard Rainey, MD., Regence BlueShield of Idaho medical director. “St. Joe’s is one of only two hospitals in the state of Idaho to earn this distinction in spine surgery so it’s definitely something they should be proud of. They’ve met quality standards and have proven that they deliver positive outcomes in patient 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. More information on selection criteria is available on www.bcbs.com:
  • 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 health care 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 additional Blue Distinction Centers for Spine Surgery designations will bring the nation’s number of Blue Distinction designations to more than 1,600—and this number is expected to increase in the coming years. 
About St. Joseph Regional Medical Center
St. Joseph Regional Medical Center (SJRMC) is the largest hospital for 100 miles with 145 acute care beds and 16 skilled nursing beds. SJRMC is JCAHO Accredited, has an American College of Surgeons Approved Comprehensive Cancer program, and various other accreditations and certifications. SJRMC continues its commitment to the people of our region and to the communities we serve. The same spirit that those pioneer sisters brought to Lewiston is alive today as we continue the Sisters’ Philosophy and Mission. SJRMC is “People committed to life.”
About Regence BlueShield of Idaho
Regence BlueShield of Idaho is a leading health plan in Idaho with more than 210,000 members, offering health, life and dental insurance. Regence is the largest health insurer in the Northwest / Intermountain Region, serving more than 2.5 million members as Regence BlueShield of Idaho, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah and Regence BlueShield (selected counties in Washington). Each plan is a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Regence is committed to improving the health of our members and our communities and to transforming our health care system. For more information, please visit www.regence.com or www.twitter.com/RegenceIdaho.
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.