Beebe Healthcare Earns Blue Distinction® Center+ Designation for Quality and Cost-Efficiency in Spine Surgery

Highmark BCBS Delaware has selected Beebe Healthcare as a Blue Distinction Center+ for Spine Surgery, as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated healthcare facilities shown to deliver improved patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that were developed by Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies with input from the medical community.

Spinal surgeries are among the most common and expensive elective surgeries in the U.S., according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which creates a significant opportunity to improve quality and value within the healthcare system. For example, there were more than 465,000 spinal fusion operations in the U.S. in 2011, and hospital costs for a fusion procedure average $27,5681 according to AHRQ.

Hospitals designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ for Spine Surgery demonstrate expertise in cervical and lumbar fusion, cervical laminectomy and lumbar laminectomy/discectomy procedures, resulting in fewer patient complications and hospital readmissions compared to other hospitals. Designated hospitals must also maintain national accreditation. In addition to meeting these quality thresholds, facilities designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ are on average 20 percent more cost-efficient in an episode of care compared to other hospitals.

Quality is key: only those facilities that first meet nationally established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation as a Blue Distinction Center+.

Beebe Healthcare is proud to be recognized by Highmark BCBS Delaware for meeting the rigorous selection criteria for spine surgery set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

“We are proud to have earned this recognition from Highmark BCBS Delaware for our Spine Surgery Program,” said Jeffrey M. Fried, President and CEO of Beebe Healthcare.

“Spine surgery is an integral part of our overall Orthopaedic program, where we can help our patients improve the quality of their lives and return to the activities they enjoy. Our skilled and experienced spine surgeons have adopted the latest procedures and technologies, and our team of nurses, technologists, physical and occupational therapists and others maintain the safest and highest levels of care.”

Beebe’s Board Certified spine surgeons have been collaborating with surgical and orthopaedic staff to continually improve and expand Beebe's Spine Surgery program. Beebe’s Spine Surgery program has been recognized for years by Healthgrades, which in 2016 named Beebe on One of Healthgrades’ America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Spine Surgery ™. Beebe also has been a Healthgrades’ Five-Star Recipient for Spinal Fusion Surgery for 7 Years in a Row (2010-2016). The Beebe Spine Surgery program also includes a patient education component in which patients learn practices to improve recuperation and mobility, and to avoid infection, falls, and other situations that could hamper their recovery.

“Over the past several years, Beebe Healthcare has devoted significant time and personnel into the advancement of our Spine Surgery Program and I am proud that our achievements have been recognized,” said Beebe board-certified orthopaedic surgeon Ronald Sabbagh, MD, who specializes in spine surgery. “There are many to be congratulated, including our nursing staff, physical therapists, administrators and social workers who work with our patients to provide an optimal surgical experience - from pre-operative education all the way through to post-operative assessments.

“Kudos to our team for this terrific honor because it was truly a joint effort among our surgical, nursing and rehabilitation teams that made this outstanding achievement possible.” 

Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality providers for their specialty care needs in the areas of bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacements, maternity care, spine surgery, and transplants, while encouraging healthcare professionals to improve the care they deliver.

“Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware extends its sincere congratulations to Beebe Healthcare for its dedication to quality, patient safety, and transparency that is required to achieve this great distinction.  With consumer driven healthcare programs like Blue Distinction, and the significant effort of our partner practitioners and facilities, Highmark can now enable our members the opportunity to make wise, value-driven healthcare decisions”, said Dr. Mark Piasio, Medical Director, Clinical Services, Highmark Inc.

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

1Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

Beebe Healthcare is a not-for-profit community healthcare system with a charitable mission to encourage healthy living, prevent illness, and restore optimal health for the people residing, working, or visiting in the communities we serve. It offers services throughout Southern Delaware for residents and visitors, including a 210-licensed-bed hospital, a cancer center, and outpatient facilities providing walk-in care, lab, imaging, and physical rehabilitation services.  For more information, please visit us online at


About Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware is headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware. With nearly 80 years of service, Highmark Delaware offers a comprehensive portfolio of health benefits products to 300,000 members. Highmark Delaware is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit

About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for nearly 105 million members – one-in-three Americans.  For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.

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