U.S. health insurer
) has started Collaborative Accountable Care initiative with
Saint Francis HealthCare Partners.
Saint Francis HealthCare Partners is a joint venture between
Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. It consists of more
than 900 affiliated health care providers.
The program will be effective from Oct 1, 2013. Approximately
20,000 Cigna customers who receive care from Saint Francis
HealthCare Partners' 216 primary care physicians, 530 specialists
and 243 mid-level providers will stand to gain from the
This step is in sync with Cigna's goal to improve the quality
of care and service provided to their customers along with
lowering healthcare costs and improving overall value.
Cigna's Collaborative Accountable Care initiative is similar
to an Accountable Care Organization (ACO). An ACO is a
group effort by health care providers, who voluntarily form
alliances to provide coordinated high quality care to
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 as well as help
to curtail rising healthcare costs.
Through this program doctors will monitor and coordinate all
the aspects of a patient's care. The patients will get the
benefits of the program even as 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 will benefit the most from the initiative.
The enrollees in the program will have the additional benefit
of receiving services of registered nurses. They will coordinate
patient care, educate patients about various health conditions,
and counsel them on proper health care.
Cigna's ACO will also designate care coordinators to work
closely with patients and monitor the services being offered.
They will follow up with the patient throughout, sending
reminders about screenings required or recommend direct medical
help. They will also educate patients by helping them participate
in various health and wellness programs and workshops.
Saint Francis HealthCare Partners will receive remuneration
based on its performance in reducing patients' health care costs
while providing them best service. Additional compensation
will be provided by the way of pay for value, which will depend
upon meeting targeted level of medical quality and
Initiatives like ACO or CAC are being deployed to improve the
health of Americans as well as to offer high quality health care
Cigna's ACO initiative is based on Patient-Centered Medical
Home (PCMH) program. Through the PCMH Cigna works to improve
patient care with strong focus on collaboration and communication
with physician practices.
At present, Cigna is engaged in 66 Collaborative Accountable
Care initiatives in 26 states. These programs provide services to
more than 700,000 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. Along with its newly acquired subsidiary
HealthSpring, Cigna has 231 ACO programs in 31 states serving
more than one million customers. It has approximately 55,000
participating doctors, which includes nearly 19,000 primary care
physicians and nearly 36,000 specialists.
UnitedHealth Group Inc.
) are also assertive about ACO initiatives. Recently,
UnitedHealth announced to double is ACO contracts to $50 billion
by 2017. Going forward, we expect acceleration in the
formation of such patient-centered collaborations.
Cigna currently retains a Zacks Rank # 2 (Buy). Another stock,
) carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) is worth considering.
AETNA INC-NEW (AET): Free Stock Analysis
CIGNA CORP (CI): Free Stock Analysis Report
UNITEDHEALTH GP (UNH): Free Stock Analysis
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