Cigna and New Jersey’s Summit Medical Group Join in Collaborative Accountable Care Program

Cigna (NYSE:CI) and Summit Medical Group, New Jersey's largest physician-owned multispecialty practice, today announced a collaborative accountable care program.

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Summit Medical Group has long embraced the coordinated care model as the best way to deliver quality care and patient satisfaction." Jeffrey Le Benger, M.D.

BLOOMFIELD, Conn., and BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J (PRWEB) December 13, 2012

Cigna (NYSE:CI) and Summit Medical Group, New Jersey's largest physician-owned multispecialty practice, today announced a collaborative accountable care program to achieve the “triple aim” of improved health outcomes (quality), lower total medical costs and increased patient satisfaction.

The joint program, which took effect December 1, benefits approximately 10,000 individuals covered by a Cigna health plan who receive care from more than 300 Summit Medical Group providers. Summit Medical Group treats patients at its 42-acre main campus in Berkeley Heights as well as at 20 area satellites in Berkeley Heights, Bayonne, Morristown, Millburn, Short Hills, Springfield, New Providence, Warren, Westfield and West Orange.

“Summit Medical Group has long embraced the coordinated care model as the best way to deliver quality care and patient satisfaction,” said Jeffrey Le Benger, chairman and chief executive officer. “Our emphasis on preventive care and collaboration makes Cigna a natural partner for us as we work together to improve the patient experience and enhance the health care delivery system.”

Through its electronic health record, Summit Medical Group doctors monitor and coordinate all aspects of an individual’s medical care. In this arrangement with Cigna, patients will continue to go to their current SMG physician and automatically receive the benefits of the program. There also are no changes in any plan requirements regarding referrals to specialists. While all patients will benefit from this initiative, 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.

“The only sustainable way to control rising medical costs is to improve health,” said Charlie Catalano, president and general manager for Cigna in New Jersey. “Helping people reduce their health risks, preventing health problems before they happen, stopping disease before it progresses and helping to ensure the right care, at the right time, in the right place are all at the heart of our collaboration with Summit Medical Group.”

Cigna's collaborative accountable care programs work to accomplish the same population health goals as accountable care organizations, or ACOs:

  •     Improved access to care
  •     Increased emphasis on preventive care
  •     Greater care coordination and patient engagement
  •     Better management of chronic illness (or chronic diseases)
  •     Lower hospital readmissions
  •     Reduced health care costs through alignment of payment with improved outcomes, quality and value.

Critical to the benefits of the Cigna-Summit program are registered nurses, employed by Summit Medical Group, who serve as clinical care coordinators and help patients with chronic conditions or other health challenges navigate the health care system. Using patient-specific data from Cigna and from Summit Medical Group’s electronic health record, care coordinators identify patients 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 a medication-related issue. Part of Summit Medical Group's physician-led team, care coordinators help patients get the follow-up care or screenings they need. The care coordinators are aligned to a team of Cigna case managers to ensure a high degree of collaboration between Summit Medical Group and Cigna that ultimately results in a better experience for the individual.

Care coordinators can also help patients schedule appointments, provide health education and inform patients about SMG’s clinical programs (Freedom from Smoking Program, weight management, Behavioral Health Program, or the Diabetes Live Well Program) as well as Cigna’s health, wellness and chronic condition management programs available to them through their employer’s health plan.    

Cigna will compensate Summit Medical Group physicians for the medical and care coordination services they provide. Additionally, SMG physicians may be rewarded through a “pay for performance” structure if they meet targets for improving quality and lowering medical costs.

This newest initiative in New Jersey builds on Cigna's and SMG's commitment to change the health care delivery system from one that focuses on paying for volume to a system that rewards value and quality of outcomes. 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. Summit Medical Group has launched similar initiatives with other major insurance carriers in New Jersey.

About Summit Medical Group
Summit Medical Group (SMG) is the largest privately held multispecialty medical practice in New Jersey. SMG maintains a 42-acre healthcare campus in Berkeley Heights and 20 additional practice locations in Berkeley Heights, Morristown, Millburn, Short Hills, Springfield, New Providence, Warren, and Westfield. As an East Coast premier multispecialty group, SMG has provided exceptional primary and specialty care since 1929. For more, visit http://www.summitmedicalgroup.com.

About Cigna
Cigna Corporation (NYSE: 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 http://www.cigna.com.

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