HCGH Designated a Blue Distinction Center

Contact: Sharon L. Sopp, 410.740.7646, ssopp@hcgh.org

Columbia, MD – Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine (HCGH) is proud to announce its designation as a Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip ReplacementSM by CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, part of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association’s expansion of its Blue Distinction® designation. Blue Distinction designations are awarded to facilities that have demonstrated a commitment to quality care by meeting objective, evidence-based thresholds for clinical quality and safety developed with input from expert clinicians and leading professional organizations.

The Joint Academy at HCGH offers a comprehensive approach to the joint replacement experience; as a partnership among the patient, doctor and hospital, focusing on engaging and educating patients throughout the surgical process – from admission to post-discharge – so they can more fully participate in their own care and recovery.

“Although joint replacement surgery has been offered for many years at HCGH, the establishment of the Joint Academy in May 2008 took the service to a whole new level,” said Richard Kinnard, M.D., medical director of the Joint Academy. “Introducing specific components to the Academy, such as standardized pre-operative patient education and state-of-the-art advancements in Anesthesia, enabled us to meet the necessary criteria to receive Blue Distinction recognition.”

“Patients appreciate the support provided by the Joint Academy before, during and after a joint replacement procedure,” said Victor A. Broccolino, president/CEO of Howard County General. “We are proud to offer such an excellent program right here in our community. The number of patients receiving their replacements at HCGH has increased 19 percent since the Academy opened.”

The selection criteria used to evaluate facilities were developed with input from a panel of expert physicians. To be designated a Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement, the following types of criteria were evaluated. More information on selection criteria is available on www.bcbs.com:

  • Organizations must be an 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.
  • Organizations must have quality management programs, including surgical checklists as well as tracking and evaluation of clinical outcomes and process of care.
  • Facilities must implement multi-disciplinary clinical pathways and teams to coordinate and streamline care, including transitions of care.
  • Facilities must have shared decision making and preoperative patient education.

Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine since 1998 is a 227-bed, not-for-profit, health care provider located in Columbia, Maryland. Serving the community since 1973, the hospital has a professional staff of over 800 physicians and allied health professionals, representing 78 specialties and subspecialties; a workforce of nearly 2,000 individuals and volunteer auxilians numbering over 600. Over the past three decades, the hospital has grown into a comprehensive, acute-care medical center that offers a full range of services, from neonatal care and oncology to outpatient treatment and critical care.

In its 74th year, CareFirst, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health care organization which, through its affiliates and subsidiaries, offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to 3.4 million individuals and groups in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. Through its CareFirst Commitment initiative and other public mission activities, CareFirst supports efforts to increase the accessibility, affordability, safety and quality of health care throughout its market areas.


Please 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.