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Sanford Health Medical Centers receive Blue Distinction® designations

Blue Distinction® designation aids consumers and employers in choosing high-performing hospitals and physician practices

(Bismarck, N.D.) – The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) announced the expansion of Blue Distinction, its national quality designation for specialty care, to include specific designations for quality and quality plus cost-efficient specialty care. Click here to view the national announcement.

Sanford Medical Centers in Bismarck, Fargo and Sioux Falls have received the following designations:

Knee and Hip Replacement
Blue Distinction Centers for Knee and Hip Replacement provide comprehensive inpatient knee and hip replacement services, including total knee replacement and total hip replacement surgeries. Sanford’s Fargo, Sioux Falls and Bismarck regions all received quality and value designations in this category.

Spine Surgery
Blue Distinction Centers for Spine Surgery provide comprehensive inpatient spine surgery services, including discectomy, fusion and decompression procedures. Sanford’s Fargo, Sioux Falls and Bismarck regions all received quality designations in this category. The Fargo and Bismarck regions also received value designations.

Blue Distinction Centers® are part of a national designation program that recognizes those facilities that demonstrate expertise in delivering quality specialty care -- safely, efficiently, and cost effectively. The designation, historically focused solely on quality, is expanding to further distinguish these quality designated facilities with an additional and more selective value designation. 

Beginning with the Spine Surgery and the Knee and Hip Replacement programs, the Blue Distinction Centers® program awards qualifying hospitals either a “quality” designation or a “value” designation. The basics of each designation are as follows:

Quality designation = Meets quality-focused criteria that emphasize patient safety and outcomes.

Value designation = Meets both quality-focused criteria that emphasize patient safety and outcomes, as well as cost of care measures.

Quality remains key. Only those facilities that first meet Blue Distinction's quality criteria are considered for any designation. Blue Distinction's goal is to help consumers find both quality and value for their specialty care needs, on a consistent basis, while encouraging healthcare professionals to improve the overall quality and delivery of care nationwide.

About Sanford Health
Sanford Health is an integrated health system headquartered in the Dakotas and is now the largest, rural, not-for-profit health care system in the nation with locations in 126 communities in eight states. In addition, Sanford Health is in the process of developing international clinics in Ireland, Ghana, Israel and Mexico.

Sanford Health includes 35 hospitals, 140 clinic locations and 1,360 physicians in 81 specialty areas of medicine. With more than 26,000 employees, Sanford Health is the largest employer in North and South Dakota. The system is experiencing dynamic growth and development in conjunction with Denny Sanford's nearly $700 million in gifts, the largest ever to a health care organization in America. These gifts are making possible the implementation of several initiatives including global children's clinics, multiple research centers and finding cures for type 1 diabetes and breast cancer. For more information, please visit

About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 38 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for 100 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.

Contact: Sanford Media Relations
Bismarck - Kimberly Singer, 701-323-6312
Fargo - Andrea Dinneen, 701-200-6080
Sioux Falls - Tim Gerszewski, 605-366-2432