Cigna (NYSE:CI) and doctors affiliated with two different Tucson-area organizations -- Arizona Community Physicians and Arizona Connected Care -- have launched collaborative accountable care initiatives to improve patient access to health care, enhance care coordination, and achieve the “ triple aim” of improved health, affordability and patient experience. The programs, Cigna's first collaborative accountable care initiatives in Tucson, became effective July 1. Collaborative accountable care is Cigna's approach to accomplishing the same population health goals as accountable care organizations, or ACOs. The programs will benefit approximately 12,000 individuals covered by a Cigna health plan who receive care from among approximately 119 health care professionals affiliated with Arizona Community Physicians or 217 health care professionals who are a part of Arizona Connected Care. “We share a commitment with these physician practices to prevention, improving health care quality and changing the health care system from one that focuses on volume to one that focuses on value and quality of care,” said John Keats, M.D., Cigna's senior medical director for Arizona. “Extending our initiatives into Tucson means that more people in Arizona will have access to the benefits of the program, which has shown strong early results in Phoenix.” Under the program, doctors monitor and coordinate 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 one of the medical groups 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.