U.S. Women's Health Alliance Takes Unprecedented Next Step to Transform Women's Healthcare

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The U.S. Women's Health Alliance ("USWHA") collaborates with major health plan providers including Cigna, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield and United Healthcare on maternity and hysterectomy episodes of care for better and more affordable healthcare for women nationwide.

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Involving health plan partners at this stage in our episode of care initiative was the natural next step in our effort to affect meaningful change on a national and local level,” stated Dr. Jack Feltz, President of U.S. Women's Health Alliance

At its national 12th semiannual conference in April 2018, the U.S. Women’s Health Alliance (USWHA) continued its revolutionary journey to transform women’s healthcare by collaborating with major health plans including Cigna, Horizon BC/BS and UnitedHealthcare on value-based initiatives.

The conference theme, “Transforming Women’s Healthcare in a Transactional World,” set the stage for The Alliance physician groups and health plan leaders to collaborate and discuss the evolving healthcare landscape with the sole purpose of improving quality and affordability for women’s care across the country.

“Involving health plan partners at this stage in our episode of care initiative was the natural next step in our effort to affect meaningful change on a national and local level,” stated Dr. Jack Feltz, President of USWHA. Dr. Mark Cone, Chair of the USWHA Medical Committee added, “We remain energized by the progress The Alliance has made as well as the continued eagerness of our health plan partners to play a proactive part in achieving our goal to transform women’s healthcare.”

Lili Brillstein, Director of Horizon’s Episodes of Care Program, says, “Horizon is proud to have been the inaugural partner in launching the episode of care for maternity and hysterectomy episodes with the U.S. Women’s Health Alliance through its New Jersey groups, and in continuing to partner with The Alliance to create innovative solutions for optimizing care and cost of care for women.”

“We are focused on helping women get the care they need to have healthy, full-term pregnancies,” stated John Keats, M.D., National Medical Director of Cigna. “Our collaboration with USWHA to provide maternity care through an episode of care program has proven successful, resulting in higher-quality care and improved satisfaction for customers and care providers.

“Value-based care is creating a platform for positive change throughout the health care system,” said Sam Ho, M.D., chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare. “We look forward to collaborating with the U.S. Women’s Health Alliance to develop a bundled payment initiative for women’s health services that will focus on improving clinical quality, patient safety and satisfaction, better coordination of care among physicians, and meaningfully reducing costs.”

The U.S. Women’s Health Alliance launched its first national episode of care program with Cigna in late 2017 and is working closely with UnitedHealthcare on a national level and BCBS on a local level to ensure the episode of care program is far-reaching and impactful to the greatest number of patients. USWHA currently has 20 member groups participating in the Cigna maternity episode of care program, which positively impacts thousands of pregnancies annually. After six months of program progress, the participating USWHA member groups can testify to the positive direction this initiative will make on women’s healthcare.

“We are excited to work collaboratively with health plans wanting to engage in addressing the total cost of care of their members and our patients,” stated Brian Kelly, CEO of Women’s Health Associates in Oregon.

"Being a part of such a dynamic organization such as the U.S. Women’s Health Alliance has afforded us the opportunity to learn and implement value-based processes in our practice, which directly improves the quality of women’s care,” said Mona Engle, CEO of Susquehanna Valley Women’s Health Care in Pennsylvania.

“Focusing on the value we provide our patients, rather than just the fee for each unit of service we deliver, has the potential to revolutionize medical care in the United States. U.S. Women’s Health Alliance gives us an engine for collaboration with insurers to develop effective value-based care,” stated Dr. Paul Murphree, President of Austin-based Women’s Health Texas.

“USWHA has been instrumental in leading the charge in helping our women’s healthcare practice understand Fee for Value Quality contracting. By setting a national template for Quality shared savings programs, local relationships with payers do not have to waste energy rebuilding the process over and over again,” commented Kay Stout, MD, MBA, President of Virginia Women’s Center.

“We firmly believe that cost-efficient, evidence-based medicine happily leads to the best outcomes for our patients. Our providers are excited about being in a position to control healthcare costs by participating in the initial value-based healthcare efforts,” said Dr. Hugh Dixon Wolcott, Partner at Mid-Atlantic Women’s Care in Virginia.

“As physicians and payers collaborate to define quality, meaningful change in women’s healthcare will really happen. It’s very exciting and our physicians are eager to move to value based care,” stated Dan C. Shemenski, CEO of MaternOhio Clinical Associates in Ohio.

“Although one cannot predict the future, the U.S. Women’s Health Alliance is creating a healthier future for women across the country through its value-based healthcare initiatives,” stated Dr. Feltz.

The USWHA management team will continue to provide updates in the coming year on its progress on this flagship program.

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 3,500 providers and their 20,000+ employees, who directly care for the lives of over 15 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.

About Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the state’s oldest and largest health insurer is a tax-paying, not-for-profit health service corporation, providing a wide array of medical, dental, and prescription insurance products and services. Horizon BCBSNJ is leading the transformation of health care in New Jersey by working with doctors and hospitals to deliver innovative, patient-centered programs that reward the quality, not quantity, of care patients receive. Learn more at http://www.horizonblue.com. Horizon BCBSNJ is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association serving more than 3.8 million members.

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.

About UnitedHealthcare
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making the health system work better for everyone by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. In the United States, UnitedHealthcare offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 1.2 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,500 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. The company also provides health benefits and delivers care to people through owned and operated health care facilities in South America. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified health care company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at http://www.uhc.com or follow @UHC on Twitter.

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Jack Feltz, MD

Heather Schueppert

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