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223 N. Van Dien Avenue Ridgewood, NJ 07450

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The Valley Hospital
223 N. Van Dien Avenue
Ridgewood, NJ 07450

The Valley Hospital Among First in the Nation to Receive 'Blue Distinction' in Cardiac Care


Hospital among first to receive new designation for delivering quality and cost-efficient cardiac procedures

September 10, 2013 -- Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey has recognized The Valley Hospital as one of the first hospitals in the nation to receive a Blue Distinction Center+SM  designation in the area of cardiac care, as part of the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care® program.  Blue Distinction Centers are hospitals shown to deliver quality specialty care based on objective, transparent measures for patient safety and health outcomes that were developed with input from the medical community.  This year, the national program has added a new designation level, Blue Distinction Centers+, to recognize hospitals that deliver both quality and cost-efficient specialty care.

In 2006, the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program was developed to help patients find quality providers for their specialty care needs while encouraging healthcare professionals to improve the care they deliver.  To receive a Blue Distinction Center+ for Cardiac CareSM designation, a hospital must demonstrate success in meeting both general quality and safety criteria (such as preventing hospital-acquired infections) and cardiac-specific quality measures (related to lower rates of complications and death following cardiac surgery; and non-surgical procedures, such as cardiac stent placement) and, additionally, must show better cost efficiency relative to their peers.  Quality is key: only those facilities that first meet Blue Distinction’s nationally established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation as a Blue Distinction Center+.  

“We are proud to have earned this quality recognition from Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey,” says Alex Zapolanski, M.D., Director of Cardiac Surgery at the Valley Heart and Vascular Institute.  “Blue Distinction Center+ designation is just further evidence that patients who undergo cardiac care at Valley receive outstanding clinical care along with the wonderful caring environment that we are known for.” 

In addition to this recent recognition from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, Valley has also received the highest designation of quality – a three-star rating – from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons for coronary artery bypass procedures and valve surgery.  Only 2.4 percent of hospitals nationwide received three stars for both procedures.  Valley has also been ranked No. 1 in New Jersey for cardiac care, cardiac surgery and coronary interventional procedures by Healthgrades.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming nearly 600,000 lives each year.  Cardiac procedures, including bypass and cardiac stent placement, are among the most common major medical procedures provided by the US health care system, with more than 1 million procedures performed annually.  These cardiac related procedures cost the nation more than $28 billion annually.  The Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program seeks to reduce this burden, by empowering patients with the knowledge and tools to find both quality and value for their cardiac care needs. 

“We commend and congratulate The Valley Hospital for its achievement as a Blue Distinction Center+SM for cardiac care,” said Kevin Conlin, Executive Vice President, Healthcare Management, Horizon BCBSNJ.  “Quality and safety are the hallmarks of medical care, and the Blue Distinction program recognizes hospitals for their commitment to helping their patients achieve healthy outcomes.”

Research shows that Blue Distinction Centers+ demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients, with lower rates of complications following certain cardiac procedures and lower rates of healthcare associated infections, compared with their peers.  Blue Distinction Centers+ are also 20 percent more cost-efficient for those same procedures. 

The Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program identifies hospitals delivering quality care in bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery, and transplants.  These specialty areas comprise approximately 30 percent of inpatient hospital expenditures.  For more information about the program and for a complete listing of the designated facilities, please visit

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