BLOOMFIELD, Conn. & FAIRFAX, Va., March 23, 2012 - Cigna (NYSE:CI) and Fairfax Family Practice Centers, a primary care family medical practice based in Northern Virginia, have launched a collaborative accountable care initiative to expand patient access to health care, improve care coordination, and achieve the "triple aim" of improved health outcomes (quality), lower total medical costs and increased patient satisfaction. Collaborative accountable care is Cigna's approach to accomplishing the same population health goals as accountable care organizations, or ACOs.
Accountable care is a variation on the patient-centered medical home model of health care that rewards primary care doctors for improved outcomes and lower medical costs. Cigna's collaboration with Fairfax Family Practice Centers is believed to be the first patient-centered accountable care program in Northern Virginia involving a family medical practice and a health plan.
The program will benefit approximately 9,700 individuals covered by a Cigna health plan who receive care from among 100 health care professionals at 12 practice locations. Individuals who are enrolled in a Cigna health plan and later choose to seek care from a Fairfax Family Practice Centers physician will also have access to the benefits of the program.
"Providing continuing and comprehensive care to our patients and helping each one of them achieve their optimal health is fundamental to our medical practice," said Dr. Jim Jenkins, president of Fairfax Family Practice Centers. "We look forward to collaborating with Cigna to deliver more coordinated care that will help our patients lead healthier lives."
Fairfax Family Practice Centers will monitor and coordinate all aspects of an individual's medical care. Patients will continue to go to their current physician and will not need to do anything to receive the benefits of the program. There also are no changes in any plan requirements regarding referrals to specialists. Patients most likely to see the immediate benefits of the program are those who need help managing chronic conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease.
Critical to the program's benefits are registered nurses, employed by Fairfax Family Practice Centers, who serve as clinical care coordinators and help patients with chronic conditions or other health challenges navigate the health care system. The care coordinators will enhance care by using patient-specific data from both organizations to identify patients being discharged from the hospital who might be at-risk for readmission, as well as patients who may be overdue for important health screenings or who may have skipped a prescription refill. The care coordinators are part of the physician-led care team that helps patients get the follow-up care or screenings they need, identify any issues related to medications and help prevent chronic conditions from worsening.
The care coordinators will also help patients schedule appointments, provide health education and refer patients to Cigna's clinical programs, such as disease management programs for diabetes, heart disease and other conditions; and lifestyle management programs, such as programs for tobacco cessation, weight management and stress management.
"We need a patient-centered health care system that emphasizes prevention and primary care and rewards physicians for quality of care and improved health outcomes," said Julia Huggins, president, Cigna Mid-Atlantic. "A system that's focused on value rather than volume will ultimately lead to a healthier population and lower medical costs, which is good for individuals, families, employers and doctors."
Cigna will compensate Fairfax physicians for the medical and care coordination services they provide. Additionally, the practice may be rewarded through a "pay for performance" structure if it meets targets for improving quality and lowering medical costs.
"Employers bear a large portion of the nation's health care costs, so they welcome programs that aim to lower medical costs through improved health," said John Miller, executive director of the MidAtlantic Business Group on Health. "Cigna's patient-centered collaboration with Fairfax Family Practice Centers is an excellent example of how health plans and physicians can work together to achieve a healthy, productive work force and create a health care system that works for all of us."
The principles of the patient-centered medical home are the foundation of Cigna's collaborative accountable care initiatives. Cigna then builds on that foundation with a strong focus on collaboration and communication with physician practices. Cigna is now engaged in 28 patient-centered initiatives in 17 states, including six multi-payer pilots and 22 Cigna-only collaborative accountable care initiatives. The collaborative accountable care initiatives encompass more than 270,000 Cigna customers and more than 4,000 physicians. Cigna has been a member of the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative since October 2007.
Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) is a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. All products and services are provided exclusively through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Life Insurance Company of North America and Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and vision care benefits, and other related products including group disability, life, and accident coverage. Cigna has sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions, with approximately 70 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.
About Fairfax Family Practice Centers
Fairfax Family Practice Centers (FFPC) is a physician owned and operated medical group consisting of over 100 primary care providers in 12 locations dedicated to patient-centered medical care for the Northern Virginia community since 1971. All physicians are board certified in Family Practice, Pediatrics, or Internal Medicine and work side-by-side with primary care trained nurse practitioners, physician assistants and other licensed health professionals. We have utilized state of the art electronic records systems for many years. FFPC provides graduate medical education to new primary care practitioners in collaboration with VCU. Since it began in 1972, it has evolved into one of the nation's premier family medicine residency programs and helps all FFPC physicians stay abreast of the latest developments in primary care medicine. In 2011, FFPC achieved certification by the National Center of Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a level 3 medical home. As a medical home we emphasize a service mentality with a team approach and focus on relationships - between patient and physician, between physician and care team members, between medical home and its community. We wish to pursue long lasting relationships with our patients and families as well as the health care community in which we are part. To learn more about Fairfax Family Practice Centers, visit www.fairfaxfamilypractice.com.