Cigna and Banner Health Network Join in Collaborative Accountable Care Effort in Arizona


Cigna and Banner Health Network Join in Collaborative Accountable Care Effort in Arizona

  • Consumers can benefit from improved care coordination and greater emphasis on preventive care

  • Banner Health Network doctors will be rewarded for improving patient health and lowering medical costs

  • Program includes registered nurse clinical care coordinators aligned to Cigna case managers

PHOENIX--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Cigna (NYS: CI) and Banner Health Network are launching a collaborative accountable care initiative to expand patient access to health care, improve care coordination, and achieve the "triple aim" of improved health outcomes (quality), lower total medical costs and increased patient satisfaction.

Collaborative accountable care is Cigna's approach to accomplishing the same population health goals as accountable care organizations, or ACOs. The program will benefit over 20,000 individuals covered by a Cigna health plan who receive care from among approximately 2,600 doctors affiliated with Banner Health Network in Arizona.

"This collaboration between Cigna and Banner Health is an example of how we are fundamentally changing the way we deliver health care, by putting greater emphasis on outcomes," said Chuck Lehn, chief executive officer for Banner Health Network. "What matters most to our physicians is ensuring that our patients receive well-coordinated care that helps them live healthier, more productive lives. This model allows us to attain that level of care, while keeping the cost of medicine affordable."

Under the program, Banner Health Network doctors monitor and coordinate 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.

"We are pleased to expand our collaborative accountable care program in Arizona through this initiative with Banner Health Network," said Stephanie Gorman, president and general manager for Cigna in Arizona. "We share a commitment to prevention, improving health care quality and changing the health care delivery system from one that focuses on volume to one that focuses on quality of care and value."

Critical to the program's benefits are registered nurses, employed by Banner Health Network, 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 to a team of Cigna case managers to ensure a high degree of collaboration between Banner Health Network 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, identify any issues related to medications and help prevent chronic conditions from worsening.

Care coordinators can also help patients schedule appointments, provide health education and refer patients to Cigna's clinical 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.

This newest initiative, which takes effect November 1, 2012, builds on Cigna's collaborative accountable care efforts locally, including those of Cigna Medical Group, the Phoenix-based multi-specialty practice division of Cigna HealthCare of Arizona. Cigna Medical Group's strong focus on the patient and improved care coordination resulted in 24 percent lower avoidable emergency room visits, 14 percent higher adult preventive care and 8 to 10 percent lower total medical costs in 2011 compared to the Phoenix market. Cigna Medical Group doctors consistently receive patient satisfactions scores of 93% or higher.

Including the Arizona programs, Cigna is now engaged in 42 collaborative accountable care initiatives in 18 states, encompassing more than 390,000 Cigna customers and more than 5,500 primary care physicians. 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 by the end of 2014.

About the Banner Health Network

Banner Health Network (BHN) was designed to provide a highly-coordinated patient care experience for beneficiaries of government and private sector insurance plans. BHN is comprised of 2,600 Banner Health-affiliated physicians, 13 Phoenix-area Banner Health hospitals and a variety of other clinical services and facilities. With a population health management focus, and a sophisticated health information technology as support, Banner Health Network seeks to provide high quality care at an affordable price. Parent company, Banner Health, is one of the largest non-profit health systems in the country, with operations in seven states. To learn more, go to

About Cigna

Cigna Corporation (NYS: 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 71 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit

Amy Turkington, 440-934-5385
Banner Health Network
Jennifer Ruble, 602-747-3105

KEYWORDS: United States North America Arizona


The article Cigna and Banner Health Network Join in Collaborative Accountable Care Effort in Arizona originally appeared on

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2012 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.