Healthcare Standards

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center recognized for higher quality in maternity care


The Women’s Health Center at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center is proud to be recognized by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield (Anthem) with a Blue Distinction® Centers (BDC) for Maternity Care designation, as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

  • Racial and ethnic disparities are persistent and widespread across maternal healthcare, primarily driven by socioeconomic status, geographic location, and implicit provider bias.
  • Compared to similarly developed countries such as Canada, Germany, and Australia, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate (MMR), at approximately 17.4 deaths per 100,000 live births, with the MMR steadily increasing since 2000.

According to the CDC, non-Hispanic Black women are two to three times more likely to die from preventable or treatable pregnancy-related complications compared to white women.

  • To help address these gaps in care and to help ensure the better health of mothers, The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association enhanced its quality evaluation for the Maternity Care program to address key factors driving the United States’ maternal health crisis.
  • They include preventable or treatable pregnancy-related conditions, high utilization of Caesarean sections, and racial and ethnic disparities in maternal healthcare.

In 2018, facilities that received designations under the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program cared for more than 40% of Blue Cross and Blue Shield commercially insured women giving birth across the country.

  • The Women’s Health Center at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center is proud to be recognized by Anthem for meeting the rigorous BDC quality selection criteria for maternity care set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

“The Women’s Health Center is happy to receive this designation,” says Beverly Wainman, MSN, RN, Director/Patient Care Services/Nursing, “It highlights our commitment to a quality maternity experience, positive patient outcomes, and personalized care focused on our mothers and babies. Their health and safety is job #1.”

In 2020, the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care Program was expanded beyond traditional outcome measures to include assessments of internal quality improvement, data collection, and dissemination, and internal protocols that better address clinical quality and equity issues in maternity care.

  • New in the evaluation cycle, facilities must collect race-ethnicity data, have a maternal quality improvement program, commence drills and simulations for adverse events, and have dedicated protocols and procedures for the management of hypertension and hemorrhage.
  • In addition, they must meet clinical outcome metrics at a higher standard than required previously.
  • Specifically, the rate for low-risk first-time cesarean sections (NTSV c-section rate, PC-02) has been aligned with the revised Healthy People 2020 goals.
  • Facilities eligible for the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity care show statistically significant differences in key clinical outcomes compared to their peers.

“The Women’s Health Center at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center should be commended for meeting the standards necessary to achieve the status of a Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care,” said Maureen Dempsey, M.D., Anthem’s chief clinical director. “Blue Distinction Centers represent the highest in their class for the specialty award designation. We are proud to work with such quality-focused provider partners to help improve the health and the lives of Virginia mothers and babies.”

Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality specialty care in the areas of bariatric surgery, cancer care, cardiac care, cellular immunotherapy, fertility care, gene therapy, knee and hip replacement, maternity care, spine surgery, substance use treatment and recovery, and transplants while encouraging healthcare professionals to improve the care they deliver.

  • Research shows that, compared to other providers, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients.



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