U.S. Women's Health Alliance Launches First-Ever, National Maternity Episode of Care

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The U.S. Women's Health Alliance, in collaboration with Cigna, has launched a national maternity episode of care program which allows its eligible OB/GYN providers to improve the quality and affordability of maternity care for women.

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This collaboration, on a national level, is groundbreaking and will provide a roadmap of how doctors and health plans can work together to improve the quality and affordability of care across the country.

The U.S. Women’s Health Alliance (USWHA), in collaboration with Cigna (NYSE: CI), is proud to announce the launch of the first national maternity episode of care program for its member OBGYN practices. Twenty-eight USWHA member groups, collectively comprising over 1,700 providers, are now eligible to participate in the maternity episode of care program.

In an episode of care arrangement, healthcare providers are compensated for all of the care they provide related to a specific procedure or course of treatment – for example, a hip replacement or the delivery of a baby– including a defined time prior to the event, the event itself, a recover period and follow-up care for a defined period of time afterward.

The aim of the maternity program is to improve the quality and affordability for Cigna customers who are treated by USWHA member groups. By compensating physicians comprehensively for the full episode of care, there is an intentional focus on rewarding doctors for the outcomes achieved, rather than the number of procedures performed.

An episode of care program fosters collaboration between providers and health plans so they can achieve higher quality, as well as more consistent and affordable healthcare for their patients and customers. In this model, providers have the opportunity and responsibility to coordinate the overall care of their patients. The model is part of the growing movement away from traditional “fee for service” arrangements to “value-based” arrangements that reward better outcomes and more affordable care.

“This collaboration, on a national level, is groundbreaking and will provide a roadmap of how doctors and health plans can work together to improve the quality and affordability of care across the country,” stated Dr. Jack Feltz, President of USWHA. “I am proud to be part of this project and sincerely thank all of those who have been committed and worked hard to bring this initiative from concept to reality.”

Dr. Feltz led the project design and implementation team of highly-seasoned clinical and operational alliance members. Dr. Genevieve Fairbrother and Dr. Rhona Magaril and their team led the task force on detailed medical guidelines. Lili Brillstein, MPH, a leading expert in episodes of care, played a critical role educating the USWHA around the design and benefits of this model. Dr. Feltz and Dr. Cone and their team oversaw the episode contracting with Cigna to help member groups execute and implement a successful episode of care. Karen Ryer and her team worked on data analytics to develop a measurement system to track results, which helps providers to improve outcomes. Heather Schueppert led the coordination process of the project.

Cigna is the first health plan to collaborate with the USWHA, on a national level, on such an important value-based initiative.

The episode of care program is part of Cigna Collaborative Care, a value-based model that uses incentives to engage health care professionals and drive improved health, affordability and customer experience. Cigna Collaborative Care initially focused on large primary care physician groups and has expanded to include hospitals, small primary care practices and specialists, including OBGYN practices. Cigna has episodes-of-care arrangements for other medical specialties, including gastroenterology, oncology, orthopedics and cardiology.

“We’re excited by this opportunity to help improve the quality and affordability of maternity care for our customers in cooperation with USWHA and its member groups,” said John Keats, M.D., Cigna's senior medical director who provides clinical oversight for the company’s value-based maternity programs. “By rewarding health care providers for the value and outcomes of their care, we can take an important step toward creating a health care system that works for everyone.”

The U.S. Women’s Health Alliance has hired Elaine Daniels as its Alternative Payment Models Director, who will lead the Member Readiness and Implementation part of the project. Positive work and discussions with other health plans on a local and national level are ongoing with the USWHA, as the goal remains to make this as far-reaching of an initiative as possible so the greatest number of patients can receive the benefits of these initiatives.

About U.S. Women’s Health Alliance
The U.S. Women’s Health Alliance is a national women’s healthcare organization of respected healthcare practices across the United States, who work together to improve the quality of women’s care, create a more affordable healthcare system and protect and preserve the private practice of medicine. Formed in 2012, the USWHA is an OBGYN association comprised of over 2,500 providers and their 20,000+ employees, who directly care for the lives of over 10 million women. We accomplish our unified Mission through member group collaboration, pooled resources, development of new models of healthcare delivery including evidence based quality metrics, and shared savings initiatives. Members of USWHA also collaborate on medical technology, operational and practice management benchmarks and group purchasing programs. We also develop healthy relationships with hospital systems, insurance companies, medical industries and government organizations to strengthen our reach and impact on the lives of women throughout the nation. To learn more about the U.S. Women's Health Alliance, visit uswha.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 more than 95 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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