New West Physicians, P.C. and Cigna Bring Accountable Care to Denver

BLOOMFIELD, Conn. & DENVER, July 17, 2012 - Cigna (NYSE:CI) and New West Physicians, P.C., a large physician group in Denver, have launched a collaborative accountable care initiative to expand patient access to health care, improve care coordination, and achieve the "triple aim" of improved health outcomes (quality), lower total medical costs and increased patient satisfaction. Collaborative accountable care is Cigna's approach to accomplishing the same population health goals as accountable care organizations, or ACOs.

New West Physicians Building (Photo: New West Physicians, P.C.)

New West Physicians Building (Photo: New West Physicians, P.C.)

Accountable care is a variation on the patient-centered medical home model of health care that rewards primary care doctors for improved outcomes and lower medical costs.

"The number one priority of our physicians is to help our patients stay healthy so they can live their lives to their full potential," said Ruth Benton, chief executive officer at New West Physicians. "This collaboration with Cigna is an opportunity to achieve the 'triple aim' while delivering well-coordinated patient care that results in health improvement."

The program will benefit nearly 7,800 individuals covered by a Cigna health plan who receive care from among approximately 60 primary care physicians and 20 mid-level providers in 16 locations throughout the Denver Metro area. Individuals who are enrolled in a Cigna health plan and later choose to seek care from a New West physician will also have access to the benefits of the program.

New West Physicians will monitor and coordinate all aspects of an individual's medical care. Patients will continue to go to their current physician and will not need to take any action to receive the benefits of the program. There also 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 or heart disease.

"Cigna is committed to supporting New West Physicians' efforts to put the patient at the center of its practice, with expanded access to care, better coordination of care, patient education about chronic conditions and wellness, and access to clinical programs for health improvement," said Mark Laitos, M.D., Cigna's senior medical director for Colorado. "This is an important step toward creating a health care system that rewards physicians for the quality of care they provide rather than the number of procedures they perform."

Critical to the program's benefits are registered nurses, employed by New West Physicians, who serve as clinical care coordinators and help patients with chronic conditions or other health challenges navigate the health care system. The care coordinators enhance care by using patient-specific data provided by Cigna to 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 coordinators contact these individuals to help them get the follow-up care or screenings they need, identify any issues related to medications and help prevent chronic conditions from worsening.

The care coordinators also help patients schedule appointments, provide health education and refer patients to Cigna's clinical 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 New West Physicians for the medical and care coordination services it provides. Additionally, the practice may be rewarded through a "pay for performance" structure if it meets targets for improving quality and lowering medical costs.

The principles of the patient-centered medical home are the foundation of Cigna's collaborative accountable care initiatives. Cigna then builds on that foundation with a strong focus on collaboration and communication with physician practices. Cigna is now engaged in 38 patient-centered initiatives in 19 states, including six multi-payer pilots and 32 Cigna-only collaborative accountable care initiatives. The collaborative accountable care initiatives encompass more than 300,000 Cigna customers and more than 4,500 primary care physicians.

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 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 and vision care benefits, and other related products including group disability, life, and accident coverage. Cigna has sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions, with approximately 70 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.

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