Sanford recognized for kidney transplant care

Bismarck contact:
Erin Horn
Senior Media Relations Specialist
701-516-4903 /

Fargo contact:
Jessica Schindeldecker
Senior Media Communications Specialist
701-200-6080 /

Blue Cross Blue Shield contact:
Andrea Dinneen
BCBSND Director of Communications
(320) 894-4423 /

BISMARCK, N.D. (Feb. 7, 2022) – Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) has recognized Sanford Medical Center with a Blue Distinction Centers for Transplants designation for kidney transplants.

The new kidney transplants designations for Adult Deceased Donor Kidney, Adult Living Donor Kidney, and Pediatric Kidney are a result of expansion of the Blue Distinction Centers for Transplants program by Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) to include higher quality kidney transplant services within the BCBS network.

To receive a Blue Distinction Centers for Transplants designation for kidney transplants, a health care facility must demonstrate success in meeting nationally established, objective quality measures along with delivering higher quality transplant services in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) network. Quality measures used in the evaluation are publicly reported by the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR). All Blue Distinction Centers for Transplants facilities must be fully accredited by a national accrediting organization, meet the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) certification requirements, and adhere to transplant guidelines from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).

Sanford Medical Center is proud to be recognized by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota for meeting the rigorous Blue Distinction Center quality selection criteria for transplant centers set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program for the following new kidney transplant designations:

“I’m proud of the work our care team does every day to improve our patient’s quality of life,” said Mike Salwei, executive director of transplant services for the Bismarck region of Sanford Health. “Our team of nephrologists and transplant surgeons work to manage chronic kidney diseases from early detection and diagnosis to advanced treatment including dialysis and organ transplants to help shorten recovery times and reduce the risk of complications.”

According to the National Kidney Foundation, kidney diseases such as Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) are the ninth leading cause of death in America, impacting nearly 37 million Americans. With more than 23,000 kidney transplants performed in the United States, according to UNOS, kidney is the top transplant procedure for the year, highlighting the important role that the Blue Distinction Centers for Transplants for the kidney designation will play in providing patients with the knowledge and tools they desire along with the specialized care they need. The National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases cites that kidney failure also affects the nation’s minority and low-income patients disproportionately when compared to white Americans, with African Americans being 3.5 times more likely to have ESRD.

Dr. Greg Glasner – “We are pleased to award a Blue Distinction Center for Transplant, Adult Deceased Donor Kidney and Adult Living Donor Kidney program to Sanford Medical Centers in Bismarck and Fargo. Achieving the Blue Distinction Center award allows the members of BCBSND access to the highest quality of care in the state to treatment of advanced kidney disease. The Centers of excellence programs mean that North Dakota members do not have to travel outside of the state to receive their care. Blue Distinction Centers are recognized for the highest commitment to quality in the Blue Cross Blue Shield system.”

Blue Distinction Centers for Transplants have demonstrated their commitment to quality care, resulting in better overall outcomes for transplant patients. They offer a broad range of transplant services through a coordinated, streamlined transplant management program. To date, Blue Distinction Centers for Transplants has designated more than 149 facilities nationwide — with some facilities being designated for more than one transplant type to represent a total of more than 365 transplant programs — that meet its evidence-based selection criteria.

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

All company names and trademarks listed above are the property of their respective owners and used for identification purposes only, and are in no way associated or affiliated with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Use of these names and trademarks does not imply endorsement. The Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® names and symbols and Blue Distinction® are registered trademarks of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

The Sanford Bismarck region provides health care to central and western North Dakota, eastern Montana and northern South Dakota. It includes 21 clinics in Bismarck, Mandan, Minot, Dickinson and Watford City, as well as a Level II trauma center located in Bismarck.

About Sanford Health

Sanford Health, one of the largest health systems in the United States, is dedicated to the integrated delivery of health care, genomic medicine, senior care and services, global clinics, research and affordable insurance. Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the organization includes 46 hospitals, 1,500 physicians and more than 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care locations in 26 states and 10 countries. Learn more about Sanford Health’s transformative work to improve the human condition at or Sanford Health News.

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, 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.