Newsroom | 03 May 2016

Cigna and American Society of Addiction Medicine Join Forces To Improve Treatment for Substance Use Disorders


Cigna Corporation
Gloria Barone, 215-761-4758

  • Responding to drug epidemic sweeping the nation
  • Cigna providing claims data for ASAM to test its performance measures
  • Evaluating medication prescribing for alcohol, opioid use disorders
  • Speeding adoption of standards for quality care
  • More than 28,000 Americans dying each year from opioid overdoses

BLOOMFIELD, Conn., 03 May, 2016 - Today, in response to the drug epidemic sweeping the country, Cigna announced its collaboration with the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) to improve treatment for people suffering from substance use disorders.

Cigna will provide two years of customer claims related to substance use for ASAM to analyze. All customer names have been removed to ensure confidentiality. ASAM, along with Dr. Cindy Parks Thomas, associate professor at the Schneider Institutes for Health Policy at Brandeis University’s Heller Graduate School for Social Policy and Management, will use the Cigna claims data to test and validate ASAM performance measures related to medication prescribing for alcohol and opioid use disorders, and treatment after withdrawal management. This follows ASAM’s collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs to test and validate performance measures using their data.

“Cigna looks forward to collaborating with ASAM to help modernize how our industry treats people with substance use disorders,” said Cigna President and CEO David M. Cordani. “We must accelerate the adoption of evidence-based approaches in clinical practice, and transform the current treatment model to one that is based on national standards and is more prevention-focused.”

By 2020, mental and substance use disorders will have surpassed all physical diseases as a major cause to disability worldwide.1 In the United States, an estimated 2.1 million people suffer from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers, and more than 28,000 Americans die each year from opioid overdoses.2, 3

“ASAM is excited to collaborate with Cigna in our work toward assuring that ASAM’s performance measures are broadly accepted and adopted in the treatment of patients with addiction,” said Dr. Corey Waller, chair of ASAM’s Performance Measures Expert Panel and Legislative Advocacy Committee. “This will encourage physicians to make significant improvements in the quality of patient care for the addiction field as well as in the health care system as a whole.”

With support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, ASAM published its Standards of Care for the Addiction Specialist Physician and developed its nine performance measures to evaluate physicians’ performances against ASAM’s Standards of Care, completing the first two phases of research. The current test and validation phase is partially funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and should be complete by Fall 2016. The results of the Cigna and ASAM research will be published in a report following completion of the study.

“Cigna and ASAM’s collaboration demonstrates action and leadership at a time when there is an increasing call for change in how policymakers, providers, communities and families address the drug epidemic in the United States,” Cordani said. “Recently, the Obama administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, among others, have taken bold steps to help curb opioid use disorders. Cigna is committed to working together with all stakeholders to be a part of this change.”

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

About ASAM

The American Society of Addiction Medicine is a national medical specialty society of more than 3,700 physicians and associated professionals. Its mission is to increase access to and improve the quality of addiction treatment, to educate physicians, and other health care providers and the public, to support research and prevention, to promote the appropriate role of the physician in the care of patients with addictive disorders, and to establish Addiction Medicine as a specialty recognized by professional organizations, governments, physicians, purchasers and consumers of health care services and the general public. ASAM was founded in 1954, and has had a seat in the American Medical Association House of Delegates since 1988.

Twitter: @ASAMorg