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Tips to Improve Your Spine Health

Most people live their lives without ever considering their spine health until it becomes a painful issue. With more and more people sitting for long periods of time, being proactive about caring for your spine is critical, not only for your mobility, but your overall wellbeing. On this episode we are discussing tips to improve your spine health, as well as treatment options to help you if you suffer from back pain.
This podcast features Dr. David Benavides, a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon at Central Nebraska Spinal Surgery Center, and Dr. James Mahalek, a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon at New West Sports Medicine.

Kearney Regional Medical Center Earns Blue Distinction® Center+ Designation for Quality and Cost-Efficiency in Spine Surgery

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska has selected Kearney Regional Medical Center as a Blue Distinction Center+ for Spine Surgery, as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated health care 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.

Spinal surgeries are among the most common and expensive elective surgeries in the U.S., according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which creates a significant opportunity to improve quality and value within the health care system. For example, there were more than 465,000 spinal fusion operations in the U.S. in 2011, and hospital costs for a fusion procedure average $27,5681 according to AHRQ.

Hospitals designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ for Spine Surgery demonstrate expertise in cervical and lumbar fusion, cervical laminectomy and lumbar laminectomy/discectomy procedures, resulting in fewer patient complications and hospital readmissions compared to other hospitals. Designated hospitals must also maintain national accreditation. In addition to meeting these quality thresholds, facilities designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ are on average 20 percent more cost-efficient in an episode of care compared to other hospitals.

Quality is key: only those facilities that first meet nationally established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation as a Blue Distinction Center+.

Kearney Regional Medical Center is proud to be recognized by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska for meeting the rigorous selection criteria for spine surgery set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

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, maternity care, spine surgery and transplants, while encouraging health care professionals to improve the care they deliver.

“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska is proud to announce that Kearney Regional Medical Center has been designated a Blue Distinction Center+ for Spine Surgery.  This recognition affirms the high quality and cost-efficient care provided at this facility.  We’re pleased to have this facility as part of our network for our member’s spine surgery needs.”  Deb Esser, MD, Quality Medical Director said.

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

Kearney Regional Attains Blue Distinction Orthopedic Spine Surgery

Kearney Regional Medical Center has been named a Blue Distinction Center® in orthopedic spine surgery by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.  The award is given to medical facilities that demonstrate expertise in delivering quality health care. KRMC is one of only 3 hospitals in Nebraska and the only in Central Nebraska to have received this high honor.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska recognizes select doctors, hospitals and other healthcare facilities as Blue Distinction® for the safe, effective care they provide to their patients. Each must meet a specific set of rigorous standards to receive the Blue Distinction designation.

“Given the news that we were selected to be a Blue Distinction facility is very humbling,” said Dr. David Benavides, Orthopedic Spine Surgeon.  “It is indicative of the commitment this facility has to provide the best of care, particularly to our spine patients.  It is a direct reflection of this hospital’s primary objective of putting patients first and making sure our community is well taken care of.”

“The Acknowledgement will allow KRMC to continue to remain at the forefront of spine surgery innovation focusing on patient outcomes,” added Dr. James Mahalek, Orthopedic Spine Surgeon.  “Patients will have assurance that spine treatments at KRMC will exceed standards of quality that few centers achieve.”

“The selection for Blue Distinction is an honor that reflects all the hard work coming to fruition for this facility,” added Dr. Benavides. “To be recognized by such a well-known and respected insurance company like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska allows KRMC to be able to tell patients that they trust us. We work hard to earn that trust from the patients and to provide the best possible care here in the best and newest facility around.”Blue Distinction Centers for spine surgery are awarded to medical facilities exhibiting a commitment to quality care, resulting in better overall outcomes for patients. These facilities offer experienced, comprehensive inpatient spine surgery services, including discectomy, fusion and decompression procedures. Research confirms that hospitals designated as Blue Distinction Centers for spine surgery have fewer patients with complications and fewer hospital readmissions than non-designated hospitals.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska is a community-based, member-owned health insurance company serving Nebraskans for more than 75 years. BCBSNE is committed to providing stability and security to Nebraska families and is leading the way in supporting patient-focused care. We’re the state’s largest health insurance company, and the only one headquartered in Nebraska. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

About Kearney Regional Medical Center

KRMC is a 93-bed acute care hospital.  Dedicated to improving the health of our patients, Kearney Regional Medical Center delivers expert medical care that is patient-focused and cost-effective. Kearney Regional Medical Center’s state of the art facility offers patients sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic services covering the spectrum of care.  Kearney Regional is made up of Medical, Surgical, and Intensive Care Beds.  As well as a full suite of Operating Rooms, Interventional Cardiology and Radiology Labs, an Emergency Department, Maternity Care Center, and full Radiology Department for diagnostic services.

The staff at Kearney Regional consists of over 700 talented and compassionate physicians, nurses, clinical, and support staff.