American Spine Registry Expands Participant Options with Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Collaboration

Registry offers turnkey pathway for reporting patient aggregated, deidentified site and surgeon-level data

ROSEMONT, Ill., May 31, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The American Spine Registry (ASR), an unprecedented partnership between the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), announced a formal collaboration with Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) to allow consenting ASR participants’ quality outcomes data to be used by BCBSA for evaluating current and prospective Blue Distinction® Centers (BDC) for Spine Surgery. As part of the initiative, the AAOS, which administers the ASR data collection platform, will provide a pathway for reporting patient-aggregated, deidentified, site- and surgeon-level data from consenting ASR participants, if opted-in, to BCBSA on a recurring quarterly basis. BCBSA will use the metrics as part of the process that evaluates and designates qualifying sites as higher-quality institutions for spine surgery.

Read more about the collaboration for the ASR here.

“The ASR is reducing the burden of data submission once again by helping those who want to seek and maintain BCBSA’s specialty care designation,” said Steven D. Glassman, MD, FAAOS, ASR Executive Committee co-chair. “The new data submission pathway allows for organizations like BCBSA to seamlessly evaluate authorized, high-quality data. The process further advances the utility and transparency of registry outcomes data and keeps the future of patient care at the forefront.”

Starting in June, consenting ASR sites can submit performance metrics via the BCBSA BD Portal® survey tool or the ASR Program. ASR participation will be the sole pathway for performance measure submission with future designation evaluations under these two BDC programs.

“The national Blue Distinction Centers for Spine Surgery designation is given to hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers that meet a series of objective quality measures and demonstrate expertise in delivering specialty care,” said Erin Barney, VP Network Solutions, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. “By collaborating with ASR, we gain access to valuable performance measure data from consenting participants. This data will be incorporated into our BDC designation evaluations and, in turn, support patients in identifying high-quality, cost-effective healthcare providers for their specific spine care needs.”

“The commitment that AANS and AAOS have made to improve spine care outcomes through data is rooted in action,” said Anthony L. Asher, MD, FAANS, FACS, ASR Executive Committee co-chair. “Our collaboration with BCBSA demonstrates how the ASR is leading the charge in utilizing outcomes data as more than just data points. We are helping patients gain improved access to higher-quality, equitable care through the BDC designation.”

About the ASR
The American Spine Registry (ASR) is an unprecedented partnership between the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) on a national quality improvement registry for spine care. Both organizations have joint ownership and leadership representation in this effort. The ASR facilitates the participation of all US-based spine surgeons in a shared, quality data-collection platform. For more information, please visit

About Blue Distinction Centers
Blue Distinction Centers (BDC) met overall quality measures, 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 healthcare. 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 noncovered charges or other losses or damages resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers.

SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons


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