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Tennessee Oncology Recognized as the State’s First Blue Distinction Center for Cancer Care

CHATTANOOGA – BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BlueCross) has recognized Tennessee Oncology with a Blue Distinction® Centers for Cancer Care designation as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

Tennessee Oncology earned the designation by incorporating patient-centered and data-driven practices to better coordinate cancer care and improve quality and safety, under a value-based payment model. Blue Distinction Centers for Cancer Care are reimbursed based on how they perform against both quality and cost outcome targets in order to receive incentives and rewards for better health outcomes – rather than traditional fee-for-service. Care delivery transformation to improve quality and affordability has been most successful when accompanied by transformation to a value based payment model.

“Our commitment to innovation and patient-centered care have always been core to the culture of Tennessee Oncology. Tennessee Oncology’s recognition as a Blue Distinction Center for Cancer Care will contribute to this mission,” said Natalie Dickson, MD, President and Chief Strategy Officer for Tennessee Oncology. “The current era of personalized medicine is especially encouraging for our patients and clinicians. However, affordability will continue to be a major challenge. This Blue Distinction Center for Cancer Care designation will allow us to better serve our Tennesee Oncology patients and BlueCross members.”

By combining nationally consistent quality criteria with locally effective value-based programs, Blue Distinction Centers for Cancer Care deliver maximum value to members battling cancer by aligning health care payments with improved health outcomes. The designation is available for all cancer types and various care settings, including physician groups, cancer centers, hospitals and accountable care organizations (ACOs).

The Blue Distinction designation builds on a partnership created in 2021, when Tennessee Oncology and BlueCross launched a value-based care program to support the highest-quality, cost-effective cancer care for individuals who buy coverage on and those who receive coverage through their employer. This oncology medical home partnership, an evolution of the Clinically Integrated Alliance established in 2020 with Ascension Saint Thomas, is designed to follow BlueCross members at all phases of their cancer journey from diagnosis through treatment and follow-up, reflecting evidence-based best practices in comprehensive, patient centered cancer care.

“BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is pleased to congratulate Tennessee Oncology on this designation, which represents another dimension to our unique partnership,” said Dr. Andrea Willis, chief medical officer for BlueCross. “This recognition provides BlueCross members with the peace of mind they need when making decisions regarding medical treatment.”

“Cancer patients are unique, and so is the care that they receive,” said Jennifer Atkins, vice president of network solutions for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.  “They often receive different kinds of specialized care in multiple settings with perhaps surgery at a distant medical center but chemotherapy at a local hospital or physician office. Medical professionals and facilities designated as Blue Distinction Centers for Cancer Care provide coordinated patient care and communication under a value based payment model.”

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

According to the American Cancer Society, there were more than 42,000 new cancer diagnoses in Tennessee in 2022. Roughly 18,000 BlueCross members diagnosed with cancer undergo chemotherapy every year, with average claims of $75,000 for six months of treatment. These trends underscore the importance of collaborative efforts to address the rising costs of cancer treatment for members and employers.

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

About Tennessee Oncology
Tennessee Oncology is one of the nation’s leading teams of cancer care specialists, nationally recognized for improving patient outcomes and driving quality of life innovation. Our comprehensive range of cancer care services includes clinical trials, specialized oncology nursing care, laboratory services, pharmacy, outpatient chemotherapy, PET/CT services, psychology and palliative care, integrative oncology, patient education and financial support services. Founded in 1976, our unique vision, introducing patient-driven care with a clinical trial focus, propelled Tennessee Oncology to lead one of the largest, physician-owned, community oncology practices in the country. Currently, over 100 physicians in more than 35 locations share the privilege of serving adult cancer patients from South Central Kentucky through Middle Tennessee to Northwest Georgia. For a complete list of Physicians, locations and services please visit:


About BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee®
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is a taxpaying, not-for-profit health plan serving more than 3.3 million members in Tennessee and around the country. The Chattanooga-based company was founded in 1945 and has brought peace of mind to its members and local communities for more than 75 years. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company’s news center at


About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through 
The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health Indexsm. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out our blog.


About Blue Distinction Centers
Blue Distinction Centers (BDC) met overall quality measures for patient safety and outcomes, 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 non-covered charges or other losses or damages resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers.