Originally published on Cigna

Global health service company Cigna (NYSE: CI) and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) have started a program that aims to enhance care for people receiving chemotherapy to treat any type of cancer.

The program is part of Cigna Collaborative Care, a value-based model that engages health care professionals and helps drive improved health, affordability and patient 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 oncologists.

The new Cigna Collaborative Care program took effect July 1 and Memorial Sloan Kettering patients who are covered by a Cigna health plan and receive care from doctors at MSK will benefit from the program.

MSK has designated an oncology certified registered nurse as the oncology care coordinator who will assist MSK patients covered by Cigna and ensure their care is properly coordinated. Cigna will also provide a single point of contact – a collaborative care associate – who will assist MSK’s oncology care coordinator with information about a Cigna customer’s benefits. Cigna will also provide oncology case management services for customers and their families who might need additional education or coordination of resources outside of the oncology practice.

“We’re pleased to partner with Memorial Sloan Kettering as we expand our collaborative care programs,” said Dave Kobus, president for Cigna’s New York and New Jersey markets. “Collaborating with health care providers is one of the most important ways we can improve health outcomes and supports our goal of providing high-quality, affordable care to the people we serve.”

“Nurses are on the front lines of day-to-day cancer care, so coordinating patient care through a dedicated nurse offers opportunities to improve and streamline the high-quality, patient-centric care we already provide to our patients,” said Elizabeth Nelkin McCormick, MSN, RN, CENP, senior vice president and chief nursing officer of MSK. “It’s our aim that this new value-based collaboration with Cigna will help create synergies that promote and enable improved outcomes for patients.”

The care coordination component of Cigna Collaborative Care for oncology consists of six parts, with Memorial Sloan Kettering managing the treatment and Cigna providing extra support and information to help:

  • Comprehensive and collaborative education to enable patients and caregivers to make an informed decision regarding treatment options.
  • Holistic evaluation of the symptoms and quality of life at each encounter.
  • Proactive care coordination, which includes inpatient management and discharge planning for all admissions, as well as care planning and post therapy outreach and education.
  • Hospice care coordination, which assists patients and families with end of life planning and palliative care services.
  • Access and referral coordination, where the oncologist and the oncology care coordinator are the primary contact for the patient while in treatment, with 24×7 access to a practice affiliated clinician.
  • Transition of care back to the primary care physician by providing the patient and the primary care physician with a treatment summary and care plan.

Cigna has been a leader in the value-based care movement since 2008 and now has more than 210 Cigna Collaborative Care arrangements with primary care physician groups. They reach more than 2.35 million commercial customers and encompass more than 131,000 doctors, including approximately 71,000 primary care physicians and 60,000 specialists, and span 32 states.