Cigna and Weill Cornell Physician Organization Launch First Accountable Care Program in New York City Involving a Physicia

  • Consumers benefit from improved care coordination and greater emphasis on preventive care
  • Primary care doctors are rewarded for improving patient health and lowering medical costs
  • Program includes registered nurse clinical care coordinators

BLOOMFIELD, Conn. & NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Cigna (NYSE:CI) and the Weill Cornell Physician Organization, have launched 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.

Accountable care is based on the patient-centered medical home model of health care and rewards primary care doctors for improved outcomes and lower medical costs. Cigna's collaboration with Weill Cornell is the first patient-centered accountable care initiative in New York City involving a health plan and a physician organization.

The program benefits individuals covered by a Cigna health plan who receive care from among 71 Weill Cornell primary care doctors. Individuals who are enrolled in a Cigna health plan and later choose to seek primary care from a Weill Cornell physician will also have access to the program benefits. Weill Cornell physicians are recognized leaders in primary care and a wide range of specialty areas, including neurology, oncology and cardiac care.

“Providing value-added, patient-centered health care is our number one priority,” said Michael Wolk, M.D., chief contracting officer for the Weill Cornell Physician Organization and past president of the American College of Cardiology. “We look forward to collaborating with Cigna to deliver the right care at the right time in the right place.”

Weill Cornell Physician Organization will monitor and coordinate all aspects of an individual’s medical care. Patients will continue to go to their current physician and will not need to do anything to receive the benefits of the program. There also 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.

Critical to the program’s benefits are registered nurses, employed by Weill Cornell, who serve as clinical care coordinators and help patients with chronic conditions or other health challenges navigate their health care system. The care coordinators will enhance care by using patient-specific data provided by Cigna to 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 will contact these individuals to help them get the follow-up care or screenings they need, identify any issues related to medications and help prevent chronic conditions from worsening.

The care coordinators will 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.

“We believe that initiatives such as this will help transform the way medicine is practiced in the United States – from a system that’s focused mainly on treating illness and rewarding physicians for volume to one that’s patient-centered and emphasizes prevention and primary care,” said Dr. Alan Muney, Cigna's chief medical officer. “We’ve already seen very promising early results in locations where we’ve implemented this type of program, and we believe these initiatives ultimately will lead to a healthier population and lower medical costs.”

“Employers bear a large portion of the nation’s health care costs, so it’s important to them to find a model of health care that can lower these costs through improved employee health,” said Laurel Pickering, president and chief executive officer of the Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH). “This patient-centered collaboration between Cigna and the Weill Cornell Physician Organization is an excellent example of how health plans and physicians can work together to achieve a healthy, productive work force and create a health care system that works for everyone.”

The principles of the patient-centered medical home are the foundation of Cigna's collaborative accountable care initiatives. Cigna then builds on that foundation with a strong focus on collaboration and communication with the physician practice. With the addition of Weill Cornell, Cigna is now engaged in 17 patient-centered initiatives in 15 states, encompassing more than 170,000 Cigna customers and more than 1,800 primary care physicians, including multi-payer pilots and Cigna-only collaborative accountable care initiatives. The company plans to continue increasing the number of initiatives significantly in 2012. Cigna has been a member of the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative since October 2007.

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 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 and vision care benefits, and other related products including group life, accident and disability insurance. Cigna maintains sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions, and has approximately 70 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit

About Weill Cornell Physician Organization

Weill Cornell Physician Organization is an 850 member multi-specialty group practice in New York City. All Weill Cornell physicians are faculty members of Weill Cornell Medical College and attending physicians at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, one of the most comprehensive care facilities in the world. Weill Cornell physicians have consistently been leaders in patient care, in primary care as well as in many specialty areas as diverse as in-vitro fertilization, neurology, oncology, and HIV/AIDS care. Weill Cornell physicians play a proud part of Weill Cornell's 100 year old tradition of excellence in academic medicine as academic leaders responsible for many health-restoring medical breakthroughs and advances, as well as scientists active in nationally recognized medical research, on the leading edge of beneficial new procedures and technologies. Committed to delivering outstanding patient care with compassion and concern for each patient, Weill Cornell physicians are providers of primary and specialty care to people from all five New York City boroughs, the metropolitan area, from across the United States, and from around the world.


Mark Slitt, 860-226-2092
[email protected]
Weill Cornell Medical College
John Rodgers, 212-821-0560
[email protected]

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Connecticut  New York

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Health  Hospitals  Professional Services  Insurance  Nursing  General Health  Managed Care