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February 7, 2017

Cigna launches effort to tackle costs of kidney disease care

PHOTO | Contributed Bloomfield's Cigna has launched a program with a Massachusetts partner to improve costs and outcomes for people with end-stage kidney disease.

Bloomfield-based Cigna and a Massachusetts health company have launched a national program aimed at lowering the cost of care for people undergoing dialysis for end-stage kidney disease.

The health insurer and Waltham, Mass.-based Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), which specializes in care for people with renal and other chronic conditions, announced the partnership Tuesday.

The program is part of Cigna Collaborative Care, a value-based model that uses incentives to engage healthcare providers. The new initiative is Cigna’s first value-based arrangement with kidney disease specialists.

Under the new initiative, Fresenius Medical Care will continue to be paid for the kidney dialysis services it provides to its Cigna patients, while its affiliate, insurer Fresenius Health Partners, will assume separate responsibility to manage medical costs and improve patient outcomes.

One of the program’s goals is to reduce emergency room use and hospital admission for dialysis by keeping patients healthier and providing them with additional access to dialysis at Fresenius Kidney Care outpatient facilities as needed.

Dr. Scott Josephs, Cigna vice president and national medical officer, said the focus is on a “quadruple aim:” better health, affordability, patient satisfaction and provider experience.

“By working together to coordinate and expand access to care, we can help people get the right care at the right time in the right setting,” he said.

Cigna's goal is to have 50 percent of its reimbursements in alternative payment models and 90 percent in value-based arrangements by 2018, the company said. Value-based arrangements reward physicians and other providers for the quality and the value of the care they provide.

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