In an effort to help prospective parents find hospitals that deliver quality maternity care, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont announced that Brattleboro Memorial Hospital is one of the first hospitals to receive the Blue Distinction® Center for Maternity Care designation, a new designation under the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.


Nearly four million babies are born in the U.S. annually, making childbirth the most common cause of hospitalization. This new Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program evaluates hospitals on several quality measures, including the percentage of newborns that fall into the category of early elective delivery, an ongoing concern in the medical community. Compared with babies born 39 weeks or later, early term infants face higher risks of infant death and respiratory ailments such as respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, and respiratory failure. These babies also have a higher rate of admission to Neonatal Intensive Care Units.

Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care, an expansion of the national Blue Distinction Specialty Care program, recognizes hospitals for delivering quality specialty care safely and effectively, based on objective measures developed with input from the medical community.

Erinna Cooper
Erinna Cooper

“At Brattleboro Memorial Hospital we aim to provide our community with comprehensive and integrated maternity care of the highest level and quality, with compassion and respect for individuals and families,” said Erinna Cooper, RN, Director of Birthing Center.

“We are pleased to be one of the first hospitals in our region to receive this prestigious designation,” said Mary Urquhart, Vice President of Patient Care Services. “BMH is committed to providing outstanding maternity care and the Blue Distinction assures our patients they are receiving the highest quality care possible.”

“We are pleased to recognize Brattleboro Memorial Hospital (BMH) for earning designation as a Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care,” said Dr. Robert Wheeler, Vice President and Chief Medical Office for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont. “BMH’s dedication to excellent clinical care and effectively connecting with community resources helps improve health outcomes.” Wheeler also noted the rigorous standards that BMH had to meet in order to receive this recognition. “Designation as a Blue Distinction Center requires meeting or exceeding national quality standards over a significant number of cases. Evidence-based measures include minimizing early elective deliveries and achieving high patient satisfaction, for example. This award is based on BMH’s consistent, objectively measured excellence in Maternity Care, with a track record of delivering better results than many peer facilities across the country.”

Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies across the nation recognized more than 280 hospitals as Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care. The program assesses hospitals using a combination of publicly available quality information and cost measures derived from BCBS companies’ medical claims.

Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality providers for their specialty care needs in the areas of bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery and transplants. Research shows that, compared to other facilities, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients.

For more information about the program, visit

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is the State’s only Vermont-based, not-for-profit health plan, providing coverage for about 250,000 Vermonters. It employs about 400 Vermonters at its headquarters in Berlin, a branch office in South Burlington and its Information and Wellness Center in South Burlington’s Blue Mall. More information about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is available at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is an independent corporation operating under a license with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.

About Brattleboro Memorial Hospital
Brattleboro Memorial Hospital (BMH) has provided health care services for over a hundred years. A licensed, 61-bed, not-for-profit community hospital located in southeastern Vermont, it serves a rural population of about 55,000 people in 22 towns in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The medical staff includes 137 board-certified physicians, both primary care and many specialists, and its 572 employees enjoy the help of over 110 active volunteers.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
The Blue Cross 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 nearly 105 million members – one in three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.

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 facilities 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 facility’s cost of care is evaluated using data from its Local Blue Plan. Facilities 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.