August 7, 2012

White House lauds Cigna for care-access efforts

Photo/Cigna Corp.
Photo/Cigna Corp.
U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D., presents the Surgeon General's Medallion to leaders of Cigna's Health Disparities Council. Pictured left to right: Peggy Payne, the surgeon general, Christina Stasiuk, M.D., and Brooke Tomblin.

The White House Tuesday honored Bloomfield's Cigna Corp. and others involved in U.S. healthcare for their efforts to curb disparities in the treatment available to all Americans.

Cigna was one of nine organizations recognized by U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin during a special roundtable at the White House.

The event was hosted by the Department of Health and Human Services, the White House Business Council and the National Business Group on Health.

Christina Stasiuk, M.D., Cigna's national medical director for health disparities, accepted the Surgeon General's Medallion on behalf of Cigna and its Health Disparities Council, including council co-chair Peggy Payne and council lead Brooke Tomblin.

The medallion is awarded in recognition of exceptional achievements that advance the cause of public health and medicine.

Health disparities are differences in rates of disease, health outcomes or access to health care that are related to many factors, such as gender, age, geography, race/ethnicity, education, income, language, culture, literacy, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

"We are honored to accept this award and … Cigna will continue to advance this important work …," said Cigna CEO David Cordani said in a statement.

A key part of Cigna's work has been improving the cultural competency and linguistic sensitivity of its staff. More than 20,000 employees have completed cultural competency training and all bilingual employees are tested for proficiency. The company has also adapted into Spanish and traditional Chinese its "Words We Use" guide for simpler communications.

The company is now working with the American Cancer Society to improve rates of colorectal cancer screening among African Americans.

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