Northwest Physicians Network and Cigna Start Accountable Care Program to Improve Health and Lower Costs

Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:00pm EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

* Consumers benefit from improved care coordination and greater emphasis on
preventive care 
* Primary care doctors are rewarded for improving patient health and lowering
medical costs 
* Program includes registered nurse care coordinators aligned with Cigna case

TACOMA, Wash. & BLOOMFIELD, Conn.--(Business Wire)--
Cigna (NYSE:CI) and Northwest Physicians Network (NPN), an independent physician
association (IPA) serving the south Puget Sound area, have launched a
collaborative accountable care initiative to improve patient access to health
care, enhance care coordination, and achieve the "triple aim" of improved
health, affordability and patient experience. The program is effective April 1. 

Collaborative accountable care is Cigna's approach to accomplishing the same
population health goals as accountable care organizations, or ACOs. The program
will benefit nearly 3,300 individuals covered by a Cigna health plan who receive
care from NPN`s 150 primary care physicians. The program with NPN is Cigna's
first accountable care program in the Puget Sound area and in the state of

"At NPN, we focus on coordinating the care of our patients to ensure they get
the right care at the right place at the right time," said Patricia Briggs,
Northwest Physicians Network CEO. "Our commitment to quality care that delivers
superior results for our patients is perfectly aligned with Cigna's commitment
to changing the focus of health care from volume of care to quality and value of

"We`re aiming to fundamentally change the health care delivery system by
rewarding physicians for results," said Mary O`Neill, M.D., Cigna`s senior
medical director for Washington. "A patient-centered system that`s focused on
prevention and wellness, combined with the right incentives for physicians, will
ultimately result in a healthier population and lower medical costs. That`s good
for individuals, families, employers and doctors." 

Under the program, NPN monitors and coordinates all aspects of an individual`s
medical care. Patients continue to go to their current 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 a doctor in the
medical group 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 or heart disease. 

Critical to the program`s benefits are registered nurses, employed by NPN, who
serve as clinical care coordinators and help patients 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 that ultimately results in a
better experience for the individual. 

The care coordinators will enhance care by using patient-specific data from
Cigna to help 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 are part of the physician-led care team that helps patients get the
follow-up care or screenings they need, identifies potential complications
related to medications and helps prevent chronic conditions from worsening. 

Care coordinators can also help patients schedule appointments, provide health
education and refer patients 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 NPN for the medical and care coordination services it
provides. Additionally, the medical group may be rewarded through a "pay for
value" structure if it meets targets for improving quality and lowering medical

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 nearly 60 collaborative accountable care
initiatives in 24 states, encompassing more than 650,000 Cigna customers and
more than 23,000 doctors, including more than 11,000 primary care physicians and
more than 11,500 specialists. Cigna launched its first collaborative accountable
care program in 2008 and its goal is to have 100 of them in place with one
million customers in 2014. 

About Northwest Physicians Network

Northwest Physicians Network is a full service independent practice association
that was incorporated in 1995. It has been active in managed care contracts for
Medicare and Medicaid populations since is inception. There are about 500
providers representing 51 specialties and sub specialties in the network, which
spans a service area of about 1.3 million in the South Puget Sound area of
Washington. NPN has been an area leader in providing care management and care
coordination services by its nursing staff who work closely with provider
offices and hospital personnel. NPN has also sponsored innovative web-based
services for its providers, including registries for chronic care improvement
and a patient transition of care platform to support care coordination and
communication across the community. NPN has become involved in a variety of
shared savings programs with commercial payers since 2012. In 2013 NPN and the
Franciscan Health System started a joint venture ACO named the Franciscan
Northwest Physicians Health Network with a large ACO contract from CMS. To learn
more about NPN visit 

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
approximately 78 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn
more about Cigna, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:

Mark Slitt, 860-226-2092
Northwest Physicians Network
Pat Briggs, 253-722-0311 

Copyright Business Wire 2013

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