Cigna expands ACO model with 5 independent hospitals

Cigna is continuing to expand its network of accountable care organizations (ACO) after reaching a new agreement with five New Hampshire hospitals--the first time the insurer is implementing its ACO model in a multi-hospital setting.

Most of Cigna's existing ACO agreements are with a primary care doctor's office, an integrated delivery system of several doctors and facilities or a multi-specialty practice. But Cigna announced on Tuesday that it's launching a new ACO with Granite Healthcare Network, a group of five clinical groups: Concord Hospital, Elliot Health System, LRGHealthcare, Southern New Hampshire Health System and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, the Hartford Courant reported.

"What's different with Granite Healthcare Network is that we're working with a network that consists of several independent hospitals," Cigna spokesman Mark Slitt told FierceHealthPayer. "The focus of our collaborative accountable care initiatives is primary care so whatever type of organization we work with, it has to have a substantial primary care component, whether that's a medical practice or a hospital."

The Cigna-Granite Healthcare ACO involves registered nurses serving as clinical care coordinators who oversee the care for patients with chronic conditions, including diabetes and heart disease. The partnership will affect 23,000 Cigna members. Cigna will reward the participating hospitals with extra payments if they meet certain targets for improving quality and lowering costs, reported the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Both Cigna and Granite said the new arrangement will provide greater access to healthcare for patients, improve care coordination and increase patient satisfaction, according to the Hartford Business Journal.

"The five Granite Healthcare Network organizations share our vision for a patient-centered healthcare system that emphasizes prevention and primary care and rewards physicians for care quality and health outcomes," Donald Curry, president for Cigna in New England, said in a statement. "We believe that a system that's focused on value rather than volume of care offers the best path to improved health and lower medical costs, which is good for individuals, families, employers and doctors."

To learn more:
- read the New Hampshire Union Leader article
- see the Hartford Courant article
- check out the Hartford Business Journal article
- read the Cigna statement