For Immediate Release

March 9, 2007

John Moore
Media Relations
(903) 531-4542


TYLER, TX - Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas has named Mother Frances Hospital - Tyler as a Blue Distinction CenterSM for Cardiac Care. Blue Distinction is the Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies' nationwide program that will create an unprecedented level of transparency with two goals: engaging consumers to enable more informed health care decisions and collaborating with physicians and hospitals to improve quality outcomes and affordability. A key component of Blue Distinction is a specialty center program that offers the best practices and standards of care in bariatric surgery, cardiac care and transplant services.

"The Blue Cardiac Distinction recognizes cardiac programs that meet or exceed certain criteria that demonstrate reliability in delivering cardiac care and better overall outcomes for patients," said Michael J. Vintges, vice president of cardiac services, Trinity Mother Frances Health System. "For over 20 years, Trinity Mother Frances Health System has led the region in cardiac excellence and we are proud that Blue Cross Blue Shield has recognized and rewarded our efforts. It means a great deal for an organization with the stature of Blue Cross Blue Shield to give our program their stamp of approval."

The process used to select Blue Distinction CentersSM 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.

"We are pleased that the designation of Blue Distinction Centers provides another opportunity for Blue Cross to demonstrate our commitment to working with physicians and hospitals in our network who deliver care that meets the high quality standards of the Blue Distinction program," says Dr. Paul Handel, vice president and chief medical officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. "Because of ongoing quality management and improvement programs, those standards ensure that Blue Distinction Centers will continue to deliver the highest quality, full service care to their patients."

"Blue Distinction puts a high value on research and evidenced-based health and medical information," says Allan Korn, MD, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association chief medical officer. "These centers show our commitment to working with doctors and hospitals in communities across the country to identify leading institutions that meet clinically validated quality standards and deliver better outcomes in patient care."

The criteria for becoming a Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac CareSM 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;
· 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.

For more information about cardiac care available through Trinity Mother Frances Health System, visit For more information about Blue Distinction Centers, visit Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas at

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas - the only statewide, non-investor-owned health insurer in Texas - is the largest provider of health benefits in the state, working with nearly 40,000 physicians and 400 hospitals to serve 3.4 million members in all 254 counties. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas is a division of Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), the country's largest non-investor-owned health insurer and fourth largest health insurer overall. HCSC is a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

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