October 11, 2006

CONTACT: Bridget Donaghue
(215) 349-8368

Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian
Achieve Status as Blue Distinction Centers℠ for Cardiac Care

(Philadelphia, PA) -- Independence Blue Cross has recognized Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center as Blue Distinction Center℠ for Cardiac Care.

Blue Distinction is a nationwide program that creates an unprecedented level of healthcare transparency for consumers and providers. Driven by quality, collaboration and affordability, Blue Distinction strengthens consumer engagement and provider partnerships through new specialty centers, which offer the best practices and standards of care in bariatric surgery, cardiac care and transplant services.

Michael Parmacek, MD, Chief of the Division of Cardiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Director of the Penn Cardiovascular Institute, states, “At Penn we combine nationally recognized physicians with state-of-the-art technologies and incredible focus on quality-this recognition by Independence Blue Cross confirms our commitment to excellence.”

“We are both honored and excited to receive this distinction for our outstanding cardiac services,” says Harvey Waxman, MD, Chief of the Division of Cardiology at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. “All of our clinicians and staff are trained to provide superior patient care and committed to achieve the very best outcomes possible.”

The process used to select Blue Distinction Centers℠ is based on clinical data supplied by hospitals. Each facility’s structure, processes and care outcomes are rigorously evaluated. The criteria for designation include nationally endorsed quality measures, developed in collaboration with medical experts and professional organizations.

“Our core mission at Independence Blue Cross is to improve access to high-quality, affordably priced health care, and to accomplish that we need to build strong partnerships with physicians and hospitals,” said Dr. I. Steven Udvarhelyi, chief medical officer at Independence Blue Cross. “The Blue Distinction program highlights for our members those hospitals with a strong track record of success in cardiac care.”

Once the hospitals have applied to receive this honor, the criteria for becoming a Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care℠ include:

  • Full-service, accredited inpatient hospital facility;
  • Program must be performing a required volume of percutaneous coronary interventions and coronary artery bypass graft surgeries and provide a full range of services including inpatient cardiac care and cardiac rehabilitation;
  • Sub-specialty board certification of cardiac team;
  • Ongoing quality management and improvement programs; and
  • Cardiac care processes and outcomes for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, percutaneous coronary interventions and coronary artery bypass graft surgery including evaluation of complication and mortality rates.


PENN Medicine is a $2.9 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Penn's School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #3 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report's most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System includes three hospitals, all of which have received numerous national patient-care honors [Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center]; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home care and hospice.

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