Cigna Encourages Medical Practices To Sign Opioid Pledge

In keeping with its commitment to lower its customers' opioid use by 25 percent within three years, Cigna (NYSE: CI) is asking medical practices to join the effort by signing a pledge to reduce opioid prescribing and to treat opioid use disorder as a chronic condition.

Initially, the company is asking the large medical groups that participate in its Cigna Collaborative Care arrangements to adopt the Cigna pledge, which dovetails with the U.S. Surgeon General's "Turn the Tide" pledge and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) opioid prescribing guidelines.

The 160 Cigna Collaborative Care medical groups, which collectively encompass more than 82,000 doctors, will also be asked to commit to taking a specific action to reduce opioid use while improving pain management and substance use treatment where appropriate. Progress will be tracked as part of the quarterly reviews that play an important role in Cigna Collaborative Care arrangements.

"Improving the quality of care and delivering better health outcomes for our customers are at the core of Cigna Collaborative Care. Adopting this pledge is an opportunity to shine a light on one of the biggest crises we face in health care today and enables us to work collaboratively with our clinical partners to find effective solutions," said Dick Salmon, M.D., Cigna's vice president and national medical executive for performance measurement and improvement.

"It's not enough to just sign the pledge," Salmon added. "We're counting on these groups to commit to taking specific actions and we will discuss results as part of our ongoing quality reviews."

The following medical groups have agreed to sign the Cigna opioid pledge and have committed to undertaking a specific quality initiative to implement it:
  • Cigna Medical Group; Phoenix
  • New West Physicians; Denver
  • Northwestern Medicine Physician Partners; Chicago
  • Presence Health Partners; Chicago
  • Privia Medical Group; Arlington, Va.
  • Texas Children's Pediatrics; Houston
  • Wellmont Medical Associates; Kingsport, Tenn.

Salmon said he hopes that the actions of these early adopters will encourage other Cigna Collaborative Care medical groups to commit to the pledge. The goal is to have most of them signed up by the end of the year with the remaining commitments coming in early 2017. Cigna also plans to roll out the pledge more broadly next year to other doctors that participate in its networks.

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