Thirteen medical centers and hospitals in Nebraska have achieved Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care status for reducing C-section rates for first time, low-risk mothers.

“We are very proud of our Nebraska facilities who have been designated as a Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care,” said Dr Debra Esser, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska’s chief medical officer. “This shows a significant effort on their part to monitor early induced deliveries and cesarean section rates at their hospitals and make improvements in their processes.”

In order to qualify as a Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care, a hospital must achieve a C-section rate of 27 percent or lower.

The 13 Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care in Nebraska are:

Cesarean delivery can pose a risk to a mother due to complications, including hemorrhage, blood clots and major infection.  There are also long-term risks if a woman has more children.

C-sections also cost more.  The average cost difference between a vaginal and cesarean delivery was $4,157 ($13,325 for vaginal delivery and $17,482 for cesarean), according to a recent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Health of America report.

“In the majority of cases we find a vaginal delivery is better for baby and mom.  We want our hospitals to deliver the highest quality care to our members and the Blue Distinction Centers are another way to differentiate our network providers by holding out these important standards,” Esser said.

Nationally, Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care reduced the rate of C-sections by 32 percent compared to other hospitals not in the program.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association began the Blue Distinction Center concept in 2016 to help prospective parents find hospitals that deliver quality, affordable maternity care.  More than 1,080 hospitals have been recognized for quality maternity care.