Newsroom | 04 August 2015

Virginia Cancer Institute and Cigna Collaborate to Improve Care for People Undergoing Cancer Treatment


Lauren Moyer, 215-761-3647
Virginia Cancer Institute
Thomas A. Gallo, 804-287-3022

  • Value-based model engages physicians and helps drive improved health, affordability and experience
  • Close collaboration between Virginia Cancer Institute's oncology care coordinator and Cigna's collaborative care associate
  • Virginia Cancer Institute continues its commitment to follow evidence-based treatment guidelines for cancer care

RICHMOND, Va., August 04, 2015 - Cigna (NYSE: CI) and Virginia Cancer Institute have started a program that aims to enhance care for people receiving chemotherapy to treat any type of cancer.

The program is part of Cigna Collaborative Care, a value-based model that engages 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 program recognizes and supports Virginia Cancer Institute's commitment to follow evidence-based treatment guidelines for cancer care. In addition, the program supports VCI's expanded 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.

Virginia Cancer Institute has designated an oncology certified registered 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 VCI's oncology care coordinator with information about a Cigna customer's benefits. Cigna will also provide 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 Julia Huggins, president for Cigna in the mid-Atlantic, including Virginia. "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 physicians pride themselves on the high quality care and personal attention that we provide to our patients. This patient-centered initiative aligns well with our goals as a practice," said Dr. R. Brian Mitchell, president of Virginia Cancer Institute. "We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with Cigna to advance the quality of cancer care and achieve improved outcomes and a better patient experience."

The care coordination component of Cigna Collaborative Care for oncology consists of six parts, with Virginia Cancer Institute 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.
  • Holistic evaluation of the symptoms and quality of life at each encounter.
  • Proactive care coordination, which includes inpatient management and discharge planning for all admissions, as well as care planning and post therapy outreach and education.
  • Hospice care coordination, which assists patients and families with end of life planning and palliative care services.
  • Access and referral coordination, where the oncologist and the oncology care coordinator are the primary contact for the patient while in treatment, with 24x7 access to a practice affiliated clinician.
  • Transition of care back to the primary care physician by providing the patient and the primary care physician with a treatment summary and care plan.

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

About Virginia Cancer Institute

Virginia Cancer Institute (VCI) has provided high quality, cutting-edge care to patients with cancer and blood disorders in Central Virginia for over 30 years. The practice is dedicated to delivering comprehensive, compassionate medical care and to helping patients enjoy the best possible quality of life. VCI is the only independent practice in Central Virginia recognized for meeting the high quality and safety standards of the American Society of Clinical Oncology's QOPI program. The practice's 20 physicians serve patients through 7 offices located in Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico counties and the cities of Hopewell and Petersburg. Learn more about Virginia Cancer Institute at

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. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit