Samaritan recognized for maternity care services

Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — As part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program, Samaritan Medical Center has been recognized by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield with a Blue Distinction® Centers+ for Maternity Care designation for the fifth consecutive year.

Racial and ethnic disparities are persistent and widespread across maternal health care. Compared to similarly developed countries, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate, at about 17.4 deaths per 100,000 live births, with the rate steadily increasing since 2000.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, non-Hispanic Black women are two to three times more likely to die from preventable or treatable pregnancy-related complications compared to white women.

To help address these gaps in care, and to help ensure the better health of mothers, The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association enhanced its quality evaluation for the Maternity Care program to address key factors driving the United States’ maternal health crisis, such as preventable or treatable pregnancy-related conditions, high utilization of Caesarean sections, and racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health care.

“We are so pleased to earn the Excellus BlueCross BlueShield designation as a Blue Distinction® Center+ for Maternity Care,” Kim Thibert, Samaritan’s chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care services, said in a statement. “Every year, more than 1,400 families visit our Car-Freshner Center for Women and Children, trusting us to provide top-quality care during an important milestone in their lives. We take that charge very seriously. With some of the most experienced and compassionate caregivers in the state and a newly renovated space, we are able to offer the exceptional level of care our civilian and military community deserves. We first earned this designation in 2016 and are very proud to uphold it for a fifth consecutive year.”

In 2020, the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care Program was expanded beyond traditional outcome measures to include assessments of internal quality improvement, data collection and dissemination, and internal protocols that better address clinical quality and equity issues in maternity care. Facilities eligible for the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity care show statistically significant differences in key clinical outcomes compared to their peers.

“We congratulate Samaritan Medical Center on earning the Blue Distinction Centers+ designation and are proud to partner with them in our mutual commitment to provide quality health care to our members through the Blue Distinction Specialty Care Program,” Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Regional President Eve Van de Wal said in a statement.

For more information about the program and for a complete listing of the designated providers, visit

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