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CHARLOTTE, N.C. & BLOOMFIELD, Conn. –March 3, 2017 Cigna’s (NYSE:CI) collaborative care initiative with Novant Health physicians confirms the program continues to make progress toward achieving the goals of improved health, affordability and patient experience in the Piedmont Triad and Charlotte regions of North Carolina. Novant Health has produced excellent results in affordability with a market-leading medical cost trend that was 4.5 percent lower than the local market.
Novant Health has achieved significant improvements in managing over 60,000 Cigna customers in North Carolina over the past year. This has resulted in 8.3 percent reduction in hospital admissions and 16 percent fewer emergency room visits. Overuse of emergency room (ER) services, especially for non-emergencies, contributes significantly to increased medical costs. Novant Health took a number of measures to reduce ER use - including extended office hours, patient education and collaboration with hospitals - which produced these strong results.
Novant Health’s collaborative care program with Cigna now includes independent physicians in North Carolina and comprises the Novant Health Clinically Integrated Network (NHCIN). The goal of the NHCIN is to reach more patients and share the improved health, affordability and experience with independent physicians to discover additional opportunities for value, improved health and cost improvement.
Since 2013 Cigna has provided Novant Health with customized reports detailing cost, efficiency and quality performance as guidance for the care provided to its Cigna customers. These reports help to assess trends and cost outliers, and identify opportunities for improvement.
“At Novant Health, our mission is to improve the health of our communities, one person at a time. Our success in the Cigna Collaborative Care program highlights our success and commitment in delivering high quality and affordable care. Some key contributors to our success include placing patients at the center of care, emphasizing preventive care in our clinics, taking a team based approach and utilizing numerous care coordination processes. The creation of the NHCIN will allow us to partner with independent physicians in delivering value based care to a broader population of Cigna patients, as these physicians join our Cigna program,” said Dr. John Phipps, executive vice president of Novant Health and president of the Novant Health medical group.
“These remarkable results show what can be accomplished when a health plan and a health care delivery system work together with common goals of delivering higher quality care while keeping costs in check. Other health care providers participating in Cigna Collaborative Care have achieved results similar to Novant Health’s. Employers and providers who are not currently engaged in this program are missing an opportunity to achieve better value from cost savings and enhanced quality,” said Charles Pitts, market president, Carolinas, for Cigna.
Critical to the program’s benefits are the clinical care coordinators, including nurses, physicians, and other professionals employed by Novant Health, who help customers with chronic conditions or other health challenges navigate the health care system. The care coordinators enhance care by using customer-specific data from Cigna and Novant Health to identify individuals being discharged from the hospital who might be at risk for readmission, as well as assist patients who may be overdue for important health screenings or who may have skipped a prescription refill.
Customers also receive health education and have access to both organizations’ wellness and clinical programs, such as disease management programs for diabetes, heart disease and other conditions; and lifestyle management programs, such as tobacco cessation, weight control and stress management.
Cigna has been at the forefront of the accountable care organization movement since 2008 and now has 168 Cigna Collaborative Care arrangements that span 31 states, reach more than 1.9 million customers and encompass more than 88,000 physicians, including primary care physicians and specialists.