Austin Regional Clinic and Cigna Form Collaborative Care Program to Improve Health and Lower Costs in Austin
- Customers benefit from improved care coordination and greater emphasis on preventive care
- Primary care doctors are rewarded for improving customer health and lowering medical costs
- Program includes registered nurse clinical care coordinators aligned with Cigna case managers
AUSTIN, Texas, February 02, 2015 - Cigna (NYSE: CI) and Austin Regional Clinic have launched a collaborative care initiative to improve access to health care, enhance care coordination, and achieve the goal of improved health, affordability and customer experience.
Cigna Collaborative Care is the company's approach to accomplishing the same population health goals as accountable care organizations, or ACOs. The program will benefit more than 15,000 individuals covered by a Cigna health plan who receive care from 335 Austin Regional Clinic primary care physicians and specialists. Cigna now has thirteen collaborative care initiatives in Texas and 114 of them nationwide.
In places where it's been introduced, Cigna Collaborative Care is helping to improve the health of Cigna customers while holding the line on medical costs. The programs are helping to close gaps in care, such as missed health screenings or prescription refills, reducing unnecessary 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.
"Austin Regional Clinic's collaboration with Cigna closely aligns with our mission of improving the health of our patients and delivering a better patient experience," said Anas Daghestani, MD, director of population health and clinical quality for Austin Regional Clinic. "Having a care coordinator in place with access to relevant patient information from Cigna, we can maintain and even improve patient health outcomes while keeping costs affordable."
"A system that's focused on value rather than volume ultimately leads to a healthier population and lower medical costs, which is good for individuals, families, employers and doctors," said Mike Koehler, president and general manager for Cigna in South Texas. "These goals can only be reached by working in collaboration with health care professionals, and we are pleased to expand our collaborative care program in Austin."
Under the program, Austin Regional Clinic will monitor and coordinate all aspects of an individual's medical care. People will continue to go to their current Austin Regional Clinic physician and automatically receive the benefits of the program. Individuals who are enrolled in a Cigna health plan and later choose to seek care from an Austin Regional Clinic physician will also have access to the benefits of the program. There are no changes in any plan requirements regarding referrals to specialists. Individuals 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 registered nurse clinical care coordinators, employed by Austin Regional Clinic, who will help individuals with chronic conditions or other health challenges navigate the health care system. The care coordinators are aligned with a team of Cigna case managers to ensure a high degree of collaboration between the medical group and Cigna, which will ultimately provide a better experience for the individual.
The care coordinators enhance care by using data from Cigna to help identify individuals being discharged from the hospital who might be at risk for readmission, as well as those who may be overdue for important health screenings or who may have skipped a prescription refill. The care coordinators are part of the physician-led care team 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 people schedule appointments, provide health education and refer individuals 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 Austin Regional Clinic 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 114 Cigna Collaborative Care arrangements with large physician groups that span 28 states, reach more than 1.2 million commercial customers and encompass more than 48,000 doctors, including more than 23,000 primary care physicians and more than 25,000 specialists.
Cigna Collaborative Care is one component of the company's approach to physician engagement for health improvement, which also includes the innovative Cigna-HealthSpring® care model for Medicare customers. Today, more than 1.5 million Cigna and Cigna-HealthSpring customers benefit from nearly 280 engaged physician relationships across 31 states, with more than 79,000 doctors participating, including more than 33,000 primary care physicians and more than 46,000 specialists.
About Austin Regional Clinic
Austin Regional Clinic is a multispecialty medical group committed to providing comprehensive health care services throughout the greater Austin area. Founded by three physicians in 1980, ARC now provides health care to over 380,000 area residents in 21 locations in seven cities, including both primary and specialty care. It is unique to the Austin area because of the widespread locations, convenient services and quality assurance programs. ARC patients enjoy access to such conveniences as same-day appointments, after hours clinics, and nursing services through the night. Most ARC offices also offer on-site radiology and lab services and some offices offer specialty programs such as a travel clinic and weight loss programs. Patients can also request future or same-day appointments from the ARC web site. For more information, visit www.austinregionalclinic.com.
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 approximately 85 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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