Newsroom | 23 September 2014

Virginia Quality Care Partners and Cigna Start Collaborative Care Program to Improve Health and Lower Costs


Cigna Corporation
Amy Turkington, 860-902-6625
Virginia Quality Care Partners, LLC
Cathy Soffin, 804-887-2143

  • Customers benefit from improved care coordination and greater emphasis on preventive care
  • Doctors are rewarded for improving patient health and lowering medical costs
  • Program includes registered nurse care managers aligned with Cigna case managers

RICHMOND, Va., September 23, 2014 - Cigna (NYSE: CI) and Virginia Quality Care Partners (VQCP) are launching a collaborative care initiative to improve patient access to health care, enhance care coordination, and achieve the goal of improved health, affordability and patient experience.

Cigna Collaborative Care is the company's approach to accomplishing the same population health goals as accountable care organizations, or ACOs. The program, which will start on October 1, will benefit over 40,000 individuals covered by a Cigna health plan who receive care from over 1,000 primary care doctors and specialists who are part of Virginia Quality Care Partners, a partnership between the physician community and HCA in central Virginia. Cigna now has five collaborative care arrangements in Virginia and 105 of them nationwide.

In places where it's been introduced, Cigna Collaborative Care is helping to improve the health of Cigna customers while effectively managing medical costs. The programs are helping to close gaps in care, such as missed health screenings or prescription refills, reinforcing the appropriate use of hospital emergency rooms, increasing the number of preventive health visits and improving follow-up care for people transitioning from the hospital to home.

VQCP was formed in 2012 by physicians who shared a commitment to use clinical data in more disciplined and effective ways. The organization strives to reduce unnecessary patient care variation, to eliminate extraneous costs, and to consistently apply best practices across all patient care settings - in physician offices, within hospitals, and in outpatient settings. In short, VQCP's goal is to improve patient health status and experience and lower cost, thereby increasing the value of each healthcare dollar spent by employers and patients.

"Backed by individual quality and performance metrics tracked by the network, VQCP physicians are developing an innovative care-delivery model that is physician directed," said Glenn Giessel, MD, a pulmonologist and Chair of VQCP's Board of Managers. "We focus on the whole patient, promoting preventive care and better management of chronic conditions as well as appropriate treatment settings and smoother transitions from the hospital to home and ambulatory care follow up."

"We need a patient-centered health care delivery 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."

Under the program, physicians who are members of VQCP will provide oversight for patients who are under medical care. Patients will continue to go to their current physician and automatically receive the benefits of the program. Individuals who are enrolled in a Cigna health plan and later choose to seek care from a VQCP doctor will also have access to the benefits of the program. There 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, heart disease and obesity.

Critical to the program's benefits are the registered nurse care managers, employed by VQCP, who will help patients navigate the health care delivery system. The care managers are aligned with a team of Cigna case managers to ensure a high degree of collaboration between VQCP physicians and Cigna, which will ultimately provide a better experience for the individual.

The care managers will enhance care by using patient-specific data from Cigna to help 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 managers are part of the physician-led care team that will help patients get the follow-up care or screenings they need.

Care managers can also help patients schedule appointments, provide health education and refer patients to Cigna's clinical support programs that may be available as part of their health plan, such as disease management programs for diabetes, heart disease and other conditions; and lifestyle management programs for quitting smoking or managing weight.

Cigna has been at the forefront of the accountable care organization movement since 2008 and now has 105 Cigna Collaborative Care arrangements with large physician groups and systems that span 27 states, reach more than 1.1 million commercial customers and encompass more than 41,000 doctors, including more than 20,000 primary care physicians and more than 20,000 specialists.

Cigna Collaborative Care is one component of the company's approach to physician engagement for health improvement, which also includes the innovative Cigna-HealthSpring® care model for Medicare customers. Today, more than 1.4 million Cigna and Cigna-HealthSpring customers benefit from 270 engaged physician relationships across 31 states, with more than 68,000 doctors participating, including more than 26,000 primary care physicians and more than 41,000 specialists.

About Virginia Quality Care Partners

Virginia Quality Care Partners, LLC (VQCP) is a physician-led, HCA-supported program based in Central Virginia designed to improve quality across the continuum of care and reduce the cost of that care. More than 1000 physicians - PCPs and specialists, hospital-based and ambulatory - have joined VQCP since its inception in 2012. This followed the work of over 30 physicians who designed a clinically-integrated operating structure and the quality initiatives that are the foundation for this program. For more information, visit

About Cigna

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 by or 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, vision, supplemental benefits, and other related products including group life, accident and disability insurance. Cigna maintains sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions, and has approximately 85 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit