Newsroom | 07 July 2015

Florida Cancer Specialists and Cigna Collaborate to Improve Care for People Fighting Cancer


Mark Slitt, 860-226-2092
Florida Cancer Specialists
Shelly Glenn, 770-365-6168

  • Value-based model uses incentives to engage physicians in care coordination and helps drive improved health, affordability and experience
  • Close collaboration between FCS's oncology care coordinator and Cigna's collaborative care associate
  • FCS continues its commitment to evidence-based medicine guidelines for cancer care

FORT MYERS, Fla., July 07, 2015 - Cigna (NYSE: CI) and Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS) have established a program that aims to improve care for people receiving chemotherapy to treat any type of cancer.

The program is part of Cigna Collaborative Care, a value-based model that uses incentives to engage health care professionals and helps drive improved health, affordability and patient experience. Cigna Collaborative Care initially focused on large primary care physician groups and has expanded to include hospitals, small primary care practices and specialists, including oncologists.

The arrangement supports Florida Cancer Specialists' commitment to follow evidence-based medicine guidelines for cancer care. In addition, Florida Cancer Specialists will expand access to daily acute care with same day appointment availability, after-hours access and after-hours clinical advice, including 24/7 access to clinical triage staff.

FCS will designate an Oncology Certified Nurse as the group's oncology care coordinator, who will assist patients and ensure their care is properly coordinated.

Cigna will also provide a single point of contact - a collaborative care associate - who will assist the medical practice's oncology care coordinator with information about Cigna customers' benefits. Additionally, Cigna will offer oncology case management services for customers and their families who might need additional education or coordination of resources outside of the oncology practice.

"We've seen great results from our collaborative care arrangements with large physician groups," said Michael Howell, M.D., senior medical director for Cigna in Florida. "Now we're applying that successful model - which includes a care coordinator employed by the medical practice, and incentives that compensate physicians for the value of the care they deliver - to drive similar improvements in quality and cost of oncology care."

"Our primary core value is to continuously support the patient, so we feel this patient-centered initiative in collaboration with Cigna is a great fit," said Dr. William Harwin, president and managing partner of Florida Cancer Specialists. "We look forward to seeing how this new approach will improve cancer care, so that we can deliver better quality of life and a better experience for our patients each time they interact with our clinical team."

The care coordination component of Cigna Collaborative Care for oncology consists of multiple components, with FCS managing the treatment and Cigna providing extra support and information to help:

  • Comprehensive and collaborative education to enable patients and caregivers to make an informed decision regarding treatment options
  • Routine symptom, disease status and functional assessments
  • Proactive care coordination, which includes inpatient management and discharge planning for all admissions, as well as care planning and post therapy outreach
  • Hospice care coordination, which assists patients and families with advanced care planning and palliative care services
  • Access and referral coordination, during which the oncologist and the oncology care coordinator are the primary contacts for the patient while in treatment, with 24/7 access to a practice affiliated clinician

Cigna recently launched a similar program in New Jersey and expects to have up to eight of these arrangements in place by the end of 2015.

About Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute

Founded in 1984, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS) is the largest independent medical oncology/hematology practice in the United States. With over 180 physicians, 120 nurse practitioners and physician assistants and over 90 locations in our network, we are committed to providing world-class cancer care in community-based settings close to home. Recognized by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) with a national Clinical Trials Participation Award, FCS offers patients access to more clinical trials than any private oncology practice in Florida. To learn more about FCS, 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 more than 88 million customer relationships throughout the world. Learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit