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CIGNA HealthCare carries on Gains in Health Care Quality
CIGNA HealthCare HMO and point-of-service (POS) plans have yet again achieved gains in key measures of health care quality that resulted in further members receiving significant preventive care and chronic care services, according to data released by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). NCQA's annual report contains information on dozens of measures of health care quality.
For the second successive year, CIGNA HealthCare also provided NCQA with information on quality pointers for PPO and consumer-driven health care plans, this year encompassing 39 markets and around 4.3 million members. CIGNA HealthCare was the first national health plan to voluntarily commit to providing this information to NCQA, which is using the data to help establish national quality benchmarks for PPO plans.
Dr. Jeffrey Kang, chief medical officer for CIGNA HealthCare said, "We have participated in NCQA's measurement and reporting on health care quality for many years and are pleased by our results this year and our record of improvement over time. We continue to enhance our health advocacy programs, analytics and information tools to drive these ongoing improvements, and we are pleased to extend our efforts to reach even more of our members than ever before."
For the sixth successive year, an internal analysis of CIGNA HealthCare's scores illustrates their combined national averages to be higher than both the Quality Compass(R) national average, and the average of its chief competitors, for the majority of preventive and chronic care measures used by NCQA in accrediting health care plans. The national average of scores reported by CIGNA HealthCare plans in Quality Compass(R) across the "effectiveness of care" and "access/availability of care" measures included in the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS(R)) enlarged this year by 2.86% over 2006 levels. This year-over-year improvement contributes to a 19.55% improvement over the last four years. CIGNA HealthCare had remarkable improvements in measurements for colorectal cancer screenings, childhood and adolescent immunizations, and eye examinations for people with diabetes, among other measures.
Additionally to providing an extensive range of health advocacy programs to assist members manage and improve their health, CIGNA also conducts outreach to members who have not yet received preventive care according to established clinical guidelines, to give them confidence to do so. For instance, in 2006 reminder mailings were sent to more than 518,000 female members to remind them to have pap tests or mammograms. Almost 300,000 families received reminders about vital childhood and adolescent immunizations, and CIGNA's colorectal cancer screening proposal was expanded to comprise over 320,000 members in 13 markets.
CIGNA HealthCare has a long history and record of success in seeking external validation of its quality improvement programs. Twenty-two of CIGNA HealthCare's 23 NCQA-accredited HMO and POS health plans hold Excellent Accreditation status and one plan holds Commendable status. All have earned Distinction for NCQA's Quality plus Member Connections, and Physician and Hospital Quality standards. The Member Connections standards evaluate a plan's Web-based and telephonic consumer decision, support tools. The Physician and Hospital Quality standards evaluate how well a plan provides members with information about physicians and hospitals in its network to assist consumers make informed health care decisions. CIGNA HealthCare will be going through NCQA accreditation assessment for its national PPO plan later this year.