U.S. health insurer
) has expanded its Collaborative Accountable Care initiative with
HealthTexas Provider Network (HTPN).
HTPN is a physician group in the Dallas/ Fort Worth Metroplex,
affiliated with Baylor Health Care System. When the ACO contract
was formed in April last year, 91 HTPN physicians at 12 clinics
were involved. Now 114 more physicians at 35 additional clinics
have agreed to be a part of the ACO.
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
curtail rising healthcare costs.
Through this program doctors will monitor and coordinate all
the aspects of a patient's care. 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.
The 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 direct medical help. The aim is to
prevent worsening of chronic conditions.
The physicians will receive remuneration based on their
performance in reducing patients' health care costs while
providing them best service.
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. It 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
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 #1 (Strong Buy). Another
Assured Guaranty Ltd.
) carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) is worth considering.
AETNA INC-NEW (AET): Free Stock Analysis
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