Atlantic Accountable Care Organization and Cigna Start Accountable Care Program to Improve Health and Lower Costs

Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:00am 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

MORRISTOWN, N.J. & BLOOMFIELD, Conn.--(Business Wire)--
Cigna (NYSE:CI) and Atlantic Accountable Care Organization, 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 more than 15,000 individuals covered by a Cigna health plan who
receive care from Atlantic ACO`s 1,300 physicians. 

"Every day our doctors and clinical team focus on providing well-coordinated
care that helps our patients live healthier, more productive lives," said David
Shulkin, M.D., administrator, Atlantic ACO, president, Morristown Medical
Center, and vice president, Atlantic Health System. "Our commitment to quality
care that delivers superior results for our patients aligns with Cigna's
commitment to changing the focus of health care from volume of care to quality
and value of care." 

"We`re aiming to fundamentally change the health care delivery system by
rewarding physicians for results," said Ronald Menzin, M.D., Cigna`s senior
medical director for New Jersey. "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, Atlantic ACO 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 Atlantic
ACO, 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 Atlantic ACO 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 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 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 Atlantic Accountable Care Organization

Touted as one of the "10 ACOs to Know" by Becker`s Hospital Review, the Atlantic
ACO was one of the first and largest in the country selected to participate in
the Medicare Shared Savings Program Accountable Care Organization, a
multifacetedprogram sponsored by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Atlantic ACO includes participation from more than 1,300 physicians, including
more than 200 primary care physicians, 50 nurse practitioners and 10 ancillary
care providers in five counties: Bergen, Morris, Sussex, Somerset, and Union
counties. Through its participating physicians, hospitals, and staff, Atlantic
ACO is committed to improving the quality of health care and reducing the
individual and clinical health care costs for the population served in these
regions. Atlantic ACO cares for more than 55,000 beneficiaries. 

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

Mark Slitt, 860-226-2092
Atlantic Accountable Care Organization
Pam Garretson, 973-971-4932

Copyright Business Wire 2013