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Billings Clinic Designated as a Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana

Helena, MT - Today, Billings Clinic received designation as a Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana. 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 Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association recently announced the expansion of its Blue Distinction designation program to include Blue Distinction Centers for Spine Surgery(SM) and Blue Distinction Centers for Knee and Hip Replacement(SM)

“Billings Clinic appreciates the distinction provided to us by Blue Cross and Blues Shield of Montana as a Blue Distinction Center. Our physicians, nurses and staff believe in the highest level of clinical quality, patient safety and service and have made this their highest priority,” said Nicholas Wolter, MD, Billings Clinic Chief Executive Officer.

Billings Clinic Orthopedics & Sports Medicine offers a full spectrum of services in hip, knee and shoulder replacement including minimally invasive surgery. The multi-specialty team approach includes comprehensive pain management techniques, along with rigid standards that enhance patient safety and minimize complications and early mobilization programs. Joint Commission-certified for total hip and total knee replacements, the Billings Clinic team of experts offer the latest treatments and technological advances which results in better outcomes for patients.

Blue Distinction places a high value on research and evidence-based health and medical information,” said Sherry Cladouhos, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana President and CEO. “Blue Distinction Centers show our commitment to working with doctors and hospitals in communities across the state to identify leading institutions that meet clinically validated quality standards and deliver better overall outcomes in patient care.”

"Numerous studies have shown that hip and knee replacement programs that incorporate evidence-based clinical care pathways have better outcomes and fewer postoperative complications in their patients," said Kevin J. Bozic, MD, MBA, associate professor and vice chair of orthopaedic surgery at University of California, San Francisco. "The selection criteria that were used to designate Blue Distinction Centers emphasize important aspects of quality and safety of patient care. These designations will help patients and referring physicians identify hospitals that offer comprehensive, integrated orthopaedic care."

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

  • 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
  • Experience and training of program surgeons, including case volume
  • Quality management programs, including surgical checklists as well as tracking and evaluation of clinical outcomes and process of care
  • Multi-disciplinary clinical pathways and teams to coordinate and streamline care, including transitions of care
  • Shared decision making and preoperative patient education

  About Billings Clinic

Based in Billings, Montana, Billings Clinic is a not-for-profit health care organization, governed by the community, and is the community’s largest employer. We have over 280 physicians and non-physician providers who work together to provide coordinated and complete care. Our mission is to provide outstanding health care, education and research in our region and the nation.

  About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is Montana’s leading not-for-profit health services corporation. Headquartered in Helena, Montana, BCBSMT has conducted business for 70 years exclusively in Montana. BCBSMT serves more than 240,000 members across the state and another 70,000 nationwide through the BlueCard program. More information is available at

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, call Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana at 800.447.7828 or visit

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