U.S. health insurer
) has started a Collaborative Accountable Care (CAC) initiative
with two Fairfield County physician groups named PriMed and
Greenwich Physicians Associations, Inc.
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Approximately 12,000 customers of Cigna who are covered under the
Cigna health plan, and receive care from PriMed and Greenwich
Physicians' 200 affiliates, will stand to gain from the
initiative, which is already in effect Jan 1, 2014 onwards.
This step by Cigna is in sync with the company's goal to improve
the quality of care and service provided to customers, along with
that of lowering healthcare costs and enhancing overall value.
Cigna's Collaborative Accountable Care initiative is similar to
an Accountable Care Organization (ACO). An ACO is a group effort
by healthcare providers, who voluntarily form alliances to
provide coordinated high quality care for patients.
An ACO is accountable for the quality, cost and overall care
offered to members. By focusing on the needs of patients and
connecting payments to the service offered, this model intends to
improve the health of individuals and communities besides
curtailing rising healthcare costs.
Through the Collaborative Accountable Care program, doctors will
monitor and coordinate all the aspects of patient care. Patients
will receive the associated benefits even when they retain their
current physician. The program does not specify any changes
regarding referrals to specialists. Patients suffering from
long-term diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity
are the ones who are poised to benefit the most from this
The enrollees in the program will also have the additional
benefit of receiving the services of registered nurses. They will
coordinate patient clinical care, educate patients about various
health conditions and counsel them on proper healthcare needs.
The ACO will also designate care coordinators to work closely
with patients and monitor the services being offered. They will
follow up with the patients throughout, sending reminders about
screenings required or recommend direct medical help. At the same
time, they will educate patients by helping them to participate
in various health and wellness programs and workshops.
The medical groups will be paid by Cigna on the basis of quality
services rendered by them.
Initiatives like ACOs or the one adopted by Cigna, are being
deployed to improve population health in general and to offer
high quality healthcare to patients.
Cigna's initiative is based on a Patient-Centered Medical Home
(PCMH) program. Through the PCMH, Cigna works to improve patient
care with strong focus on collaboration and communication with
At present, Cigna is engaged in 86 Collaborative Accountable Care
initiatives in 27 U.S. states. These programs provide services to
more than 880,000 Cigna customers. Cigna initiated its first CAC
program back in 2008. Cigna aims to serve about 1 million
customers via 100 CAC initiatives by 2014.
UnitedHealth Group Inc.
) are also active about ACO initiatives.
Cigna currently holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Another top-ranked
) carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), is also worth