Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield has named Iowa Methodist Medical Center, Iowa Lutheran Hospital and Methodist West Hospital as "Blue Distinction Centers Plus."  The national designation is awarded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies to medical facilities that have demonstrated expertise in delivering quality specialty care The program recently was expanded to include more robust quality measures focused on improved patient health and safety as well as new cost-efficiency measures. Iowa Methodist was recognized specifically for spine surgery; Iowa Lutheran was recognized for knee and hip replacement; and Methodist West was recognized for spine surgery along with knee and hip replacement. According to Wellmark, research has confirmed that hospitals earning the designation demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients, with lower rates of complications and readmissions than their peers.