Newswise — Buffalo, NY – BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York today has redesignated Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) as a Blue Distinction Center® for delivering quality transplant care as part of the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care® program. Approximately 100 Blue Distinction Centers for Transplants have been designated in the United States, with only four located in New York State.

Blue Distinction Centers are medical facilities shown to deliver quality specialty care based on objective, transparent measures for patient safety and health outcomes that were developed with input from the medical community. To receive a Blue Distinction Centers for Transplants® designation, medical facilities must demonstrate success in meeting patient safety criteria as well as transplant-specific quality measures (including survival metrics). RPCI received the same Blue Distinction Center designation in 2011.

Blood and marrow hematopoietic stem-cell transplants, also known as bone-marrow transplants, are a common approach for treating many types of hematologic cancers, including forms of leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma. They involve the transplant of blood or bone marrow stem cells — from a donor or from the patients themselves — as a way of sparing the patient the toxic effects of intensive chemotherapy and/or radiation.

“Because blood and marrow transplant is such a highly complex procedure, a patient’s medical needs before, during and after a transplant procedure are extensive and labor-intensive,” said Philip McCarthy, MD, Director of RPCI’s Blood & Marrow Transplant Program. “Given that context, we’re especially proud to once again earn Blue Distinction for our transplant program from BlueCross BlueShield.”

—More—Research shows that Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients with higher survival rates compared with their peers.

“We are pleased that RPCI has been recognized for their quality transplant care,” said Dr. Thomas Schenk, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. “As part of the BCBS network they are a valued and once again nationally recognized provider of quality care.”

Although rare, the number of transplants – including heart, lung, liver, pancreas and bone marrow/blood stem cell – in the nation have increased in recent years. There were 28,954 transplant procedures performed in 2013 compared to 28,052 in 2012. Today, more than 123,000 people are awaiting organ donations for transplants, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

In 2006, the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program was developed to help patients find quality providers for their specialty care needs while encouraging healthcare professionals to improve the care they deliver.

The Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program identifies medical facilities delivering quality care in bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery and transplants. These specialty areas comprise approximately 30 percent of inpatient expenditures. For more information about the program and for a complete listing of the designated facilities, please visit


About Roswell Park Cancer Institute:The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1898, RPCI is one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email [email protected]. Follow Roswell Park on Facebook and Twitter.

About BlueCross BlueShield of WNYBlueCross BlueShield of Western New York is a division of HealthNow New York Inc., one of New York’s leading health care companies that provides access to quality health care and solutions for members throughout Upstate New York. Since 1936, BlueCross BlueShield has helped millions of people gain access to health care. Headquartered in Buffalo, NY, the company is an independent Licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. As the region’s leading health plan, serving over 600,000 members, BlueCross BlueShield believes in taking small steps towards healthier living because - Healthy Changes Everything®. You can visit our website at