Newsroom | 01 October 2015

University of California, San Francisco Collaborates With Cigna To Improve Health and Lower Costs in Northern California


Jill Holliday, 860-226-2094
UC San Francisco
Jennifer O'Brien, 415-502-6397

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

SAN FRANCISCO, October 01, 2015 - Cigna (NYSE: CI) has launched a collaborative care initiative with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) that aims to improve patient access to health care, enhance care coordination, and achieve the goal of improved health, affordability and patient experience. With the launch of this initiative, which becomes effective October 1, Cigna will have eight collaborative care arrangements throughout California.

Cigna Collaborative Care is the company's approach to accomplishing the same population health goals as accountable care organizations, or ACOs. The new arrangement will benefit more than 8,000 individuals covered by a Cigna health plan who receive care from the 2,200 doctors at UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco.

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 and 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.

"I am excited to be adding UCSF to our collaborative care portfolio. We share a vision of changing the health care delivery system from one that rewards volume of care to one that puts the patient at the center and rewards quality of outcomes and value," said Peter Welch, Cigna president and general manager, Northern California.

Under the program, UCSF will help monitor and coordinate an individual's medical care. Patients will continue to go to their current physicians at UCSF, and automatically receive the benefits of the program. Individuals who are enrolled in a Cigna health plan and later choose to seek care from UCSF 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 UCSF clinical care coordinators, who help patients with chronic conditions or other health challenges navigate the health care system. The care coordinators align with a team of Cigna case managers to ensure a high degree of collaboration between UCSF and Cigna, which will ultimately provide a better experience for the individual.

"For the many patients today who are living with one or more chronic disease conditions, such as diabetes or even cancer, the health care system can be extremely difficult to navigate, which makes them less likely to seek the preventive care they need," said Ami Parekh, M.D., executive medical director of Population Health and Accountable Care at UCSF. "This collaboration will help connect all of the elements of that care, from their primary care provider to their multiple specialists, and help make sure that their care is covered by their insurance, so all of our patients can stay healthy longer."

The care coordinators will enhance care by using patient-specific data from Cigna to help identify individuals being discharged from the hospital who might be at risk for readmission, as well as individuals who may be overdue for important health screenings or who may have skipped a prescription refill. The care coordinators are part of physician-led care teams that will help people get the follow-up care or screenings they need, identify potential complications related to medications and help prevent chronic conditions from worsening.

Care coordinators can also help individuals schedule appointments, provide health education and refer people to Cigna's clinical support 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.

Cigna will compensate UCSF for the medical and care coordination services it provides. Additionally, the physician group may be rewarded through a "pay for value" structure if it meets targets for improving quality and lowering medical costs.

Cigna has been at the forefront of the accountable care organization movement since 2008 and now has 134 Cigna Collaborative Care arrangements with large physician groups that span 29 states, reach nearly 1.5 million commercial customers and encompass nearly 60,000 doctors, including approximately 30,000 primary care physicians and 30,000 specialists.

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 89 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit

About UCSF

UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco are ranked among the nation's top hospitals, providing world-class care and serving as a training ground for health care leaders of the future. They are part of UCSF, a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. The birthplace of biotechnology, UCSF serves as a bioscience magnet for the city, attracting bio/pharma companies and entrepreneurs to one of the most active biotech hubs in the nation. Please visit and

UC Disclaimer

The information stated above was prepared by Cigna. Nothing in this statement shall be construed to imply any support or endorsement of Cigna, or any of its products, by The Regents of the University of California, its officers, agents and employees.