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Published on March 08, 2018

Medical Center in Alpena Recognized for Higher Quality in Maternity Care

Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan has designated MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena as a Blue Distinction® Center+ for Maternity Care. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated hospitals that show expertise in delivering improved patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community.

Nearly four million babies are born in the U.S. annually, making childbirth the most common cause of hospitalization, and cesarean sections the most common operating room procedures, according to National Centers for Health Statistics and the Agency for Health care Research & Quality (AHRQ). Reducing early elective delivery is an area of focus for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). According to Health Affairs, elective inductions result in more cesarean deliveries and a longer maternal hospitalization.

The Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care program evaluates hospitals on quality measures for vaginal and cesarean delivery. To receive a Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care designation, a hospital must also demonstrate cost-efficiency. Only those hospitals that first meet Blue Distinction’s nationally-established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation as a Blue Distinction Center+.

Brendan Conboy, M.D. - Obstetrics/Gynecology in Alpena, MI.Brendan Conboy, M.D.

Marissa Hill, D.O. - Obstetrics/Gynecology in Alpena, MI.Marissa Hill, D.O.

Denise Schiebout, D.O. - Obstetrics/Gynecology in Alpena, MI.Denise Schiebout, D.O.

“Our providers and staff are committed to safety and high-quality care for moms and babies,” said Brendan Conboy, M.D., an obstetrician/gynecologist at MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena and associate chief medical information officer for MidMichigan Health. “For example, we have worked hard over the past several years to get early elective deliveries down to zero by using an induction safety checklist. We find that delaying elective inductions with an unfavorable cervix definitely helps our patients avoid c-sections. Our c-section rate for low-risk births1 for the past six months was 18 percent, compared to a target of 23.9 percent or less. Our episiotomy rate for the most recent survey year was 2.6 percent, compared to a target of 5 percent or less.”2

“The Maternity Care designation is a tremendous accomplishment, indicating facilities that consistently deliver effective, safe and high-quality care for the many thousands of Michigan residents adding to their families,” says Amy McKenzie, M.D., M.B.A. medical director, Value Partnerships, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “We congratulate the hospitals that have achieved this designation and thank them for their commitment to providing patients with high-value care.”

Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies across the nation have recognized more than 1,000 hospitals as Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care. Hospitals recognized with this designation are assessed using a combination of quality information supplied by hospitals and cost measures derived from BCBS companies’ medical claims.

Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality specialty care in the areas of bariatric surgery, cancer care, cardiac care, maternity care, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery, and transplants, while encouraging health care professionals to improve the care they deliver. Research shows that, compared to other hospitals, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients. On average, Blue Distinction Centers+ are also 20 percent more cost-efficient than non-Blue Distinction Center+ designated hospitals.

Those interested in more information about the program and for a complete listing of the designated facilities may visit


1For the purpose of measuring c-section rates, low risk births are defined as nulliparious term singleton vertex (NTSV)  births, or first-time mothers giving birth at 37 weeks or later to a single baby in the head-down position.

2Target rates established by The Leapfrog Group (, a national nonprofit organization for quality and safety in American health care. The most recent survey was submitted in June 2017.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more company information, visit 

About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health Index. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out our blog

About Blue Distinction Centers
Blue Distinction Centers (BDC) met overall quality measures for patient safety and outcomes, developed with input from the medical community. A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for providers located in its own service area; for details, contact your Local Blue Plan. Blue Distinction Centers+ (BDC+) also met cost measures that address consumers’ need for affordable health care. Each provider’s cost of care is evaluated using data from its Local Blue Plan. Providers in CA, ID, NY, PA, and WA may lie in two Local Blue Plans’ areas, resulting in two evaluations for cost of care; and their own Local Blue Plans decide whether one or both cost of care evaluation(s) must meet BDC+ national criteria. National criteria for BDC and BDC+ are displayed on Individual outcomes may vary. For details on a provider’s in-network status or your own policy’s coverage, contact your Local Blue Plan and ask your provider before making an appointment. Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for non-covered charges or other losses or damages resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers.

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