HOUSTON (May 20, 2010)

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas has designated Memorial Hermann Memorial City Hospital as a Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement. Blue Distinction Centers for Knee and Hip Replacement are part of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association's expansion of its Blue Distinction® designation.

Memorial Hermann Memorial City offers comprehensive knee and hip replacement services, including partial and total joint replacement, and hip resurfacing. Additionally, physicians affiliated with the hospital employ minimally invasive and computer-assisted techniques, bringing patients the latest technology in joint replacement. Nearly 1,000 joint replacement surgeries are performed at Memorial Hermann Memorial City each year.

"Blue Distinction Centers show our commitment to working with doctors and hospitals in communities across the state to identify leading institutions that deliver better overall outcomes in patient care," says Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, vice president and chief medical officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. "With the number of patients undergoing surgeries and hospitalizations for spine, knee and hip conditions growing dramatically, it becomes increasingly important to help these patients and their physicians identify facilities that have experience in comprehensive care with the best outcomes in these areas, including post operative rehabilitation."

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 www.bcbs.com:

The Blue Distinction designation is awarded by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies to medical facilities that have demonstrated expertise in delivering quality healthcare in the areas of bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacement, spine surgery and transplants. The program is part of The Blues® efforts to collaborate with physicians and medical facilities to improve the overall quality and safety of specialty care.

The additional Blue Distinction Centers for Knee and Hip Replacement designations will bring the nation's number of Blue Distinction designations to more than 1,600-and this number is expected to increase in the coming years.