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AU Health’s Bone Marrow Transplant Center receives Blue Distinction Plus Center for Transplants

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AU Health’s Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Program has been designated a Blue Distinction Plus Center for Transplant by Blue Cross Blue Shield Systems. AU Health is one of only 16 facilities in the country and the only one in Georgia to receive this distinction.

AU Health’s Bone Marrow Transplant Center has received designation as a Blue Distinction Plus Center for Transplants, the highest designation for Blue Cross Blue Shield Systems (BCBS). In late 2019, local BCBS Plans considered 146 facilities for the Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplants Program, including 116 adult and 72 pediatric bone marrow/stem cell transplant programs. AU Health is proud to receive the designation, which is awarded to facilities that are recognized for their expertise and cost-efficiency in delivering special care.

“We are certainly very pleased to have this distinction which means that our quality metrics are comparable to some of the best centers,” says Dr. Vamsi Kota, director of the Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplantation Program.

The Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University is only one of 16 facilities nationally to receive designation as BDC+. When the Bone Marrow Transplant Program was begun in 1997, Dr. Anand Jillella and his team performed the first autologous stem cell transplant and went on to perform 19 more in the same year. The program has reached a milestone of performing 100 transplants in one calendar year. On Aug. 3, they reached the milestone of performing their 1,000th bone marrow transplant.

The medical college’s success enabled the program to get clearance into BDC+. The selection criteria for BDC+ facilities were designed to address market and consumer demand for cost savings and affordable healthcare. The cost of care evaluations were based on Blue Plan Healthcare Claims data and the facility’s global contract terms, and include professional and in-network facility costs for active BCBS members. To be eligible for designation as a BDC+, a facility must ultimately satisfy the Quality, Business, and Cost of Care Selection Criteria.

“This designation will allow us to offer our transplant services to more patients and being more focused on the rural areas of Georgia and South Carolina, it will allow more access to patients to a center that is one of the 16 centers with this designation in the country,” Kota said.