Cigna (NYSE:CI) and Northwest Physicians Network (NPN), an independent physician association (IPA) serving the south Puget Sound area, have launched a collaborative accountable care initiative to improve patient access to health care, enhance care coordination, and achieve the “ triple aim” of improved health, affordability and patient experience. The program is effective April 1. Collaborative accountable care is Cigna's approach to accomplishing the same population health goals as accountable care organizations, or ACOs. The program will benefit nearly 3,300 individuals covered by a Cigna health plan who receive care from NPN’s 150 primary care physicians. The program with NPN is Cigna's first accountable care program in the Puget Sound area and in the state of Washington. “At NPN, we focus on coordinating the care of our patients to ensure they get the right care at the right place at the right time,” said Patricia Briggs, Northwest Physicians Network CEO. “Our commitment to quality care that delivers superior results for our patients is perfectly aligned with Cigna's commitment to changing the focus of health care from volume of care to quality and value of care.” “We’re aiming to fundamentally change the health care delivery system by rewarding physicians for results,” said Mary O’Neill, M.D., Cigna’s senior medical director for Washington. “A patient-centered system that’s focused on prevention and wellness, combined with the right incentives for physicians, will ultimately result in a healthier population and lower medical costs. That’s good for individuals, families, employers and doctors.” Under the program, NPN monitors and coordinates all aspects of an individual’s medical care. Patients continue to go to their current physician and automatically receive the benefits of the program. Individuals who are enrolled in a Cigna health plan and later choose to seek care from a doctor in the medical group will also have access to the benefits of the program. There 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.