Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) has selected Passavant Area Hospital, a Memorial Health System affiliate, as a Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement, part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated healthcare facilities shown to deliver improved patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that were developed by Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies with input from the medical community.

Knee and hip replacement procedures are among the fastest growing medical treatments in the U.S., according to studies published in the June 2014 Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery1 and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons2.

Hospitals designated as Blue Distinction Centers for Knee and Hip Replacement demonstrate expertise in total knee and total hip replacement surgeries, resulting in fewer patient complications and hospital readmissions. Designated hospitals must also maintain national accreditation.

Passavant Area Hospital offers total hip and knee replacement as part of its JointWorks program. JointWorks provides each patient with a case manager and a team of orthopedic specialists and nursing staff who specialize in joint replacement surgery and rehabilitation to work with patients each step of the replacement process. JointWorks also assists the spouse or loved one learn the best ways to provide support and encouragement to the patient. Passavant performs nearly 300 joint replacement procedures each year.

Passavant’s team of orthopedic surgeons includes Darr Leutz, MD, and Barry Werries, MD. Dr. Leutz is affiliated with Springfield Clinic; Dr. Werries is affiliated with the Orthopedic Center of Illinois.

Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality providers for their specialty care needs, while encouraging healthcare professionals to improve the care they deliver.

“I want to congratulate Passavant for this commitment to quality, and helping members better manage their care through the Blue Distinction Specialty Care Program,” says Opella Ernest, MD, BCBSIL chief medical officer and divisional senior vice president of Network Management. “This patient centered approach provides attention to patients across the health care spectrum – from helping our members who are the sickest utilize medical services more efficiently, to finding ways that enable healthy people to stay that way.”

For more information about the program and a listing of designated facilities, visit


1 J Bone Joint Surg Am, The Role of Overweight and Obesity in Relation to the More Rapid Growth of Total Knee Arthroplasty Volume Compared with Total Hip Arthroplasty Volume, 2014 Jun 04; 96 (11): 922 -928.

2 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Annual Incidents of Common Musculoskeletal Procedures and Treatment, 2014 March;