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CIGNA HealthCare to Expand Disease Management Offerings for Fibromyalgia and Other Conditions

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www.ProHealth.com • February 9, 2005


CIGNA HealthCare to Expand Disease Management Offerings; Adding New Programs for Depression, Ten Targeted Conditions Demonstrated Disease Management Results Lead to Program Expansion BLOOMFIELD, Conn., Feb. 7, 2005 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- CIGNA HealthCare today announced it is expanding its disease management offerings to include new programs for members with depression and members with one or more of a group of 10 other medical conditions such as osteoporosis, hepatitis C, or fibromyalgia. The company is adding the new programs to help members affected by these conditions better manage their health and reduce medical costs. "Our disease management programs have been very successful in improving health and reducing costs associated with a number of the most common health care problems in our country, and now we are extending our programs to reach more of our members," said CIGNA Chief Clinical Officer W. Allen Schaffer, M.D. "CIGNA's disease management programs work because they encourage members to take a more active role in their health care and they also provide members with support from health care coaches to help them better manage their condition." These new programs, as well as a new high-risk obesity disease management program CIGNA HealthCare announced earlier this year, will be offered in addition to CIGNA HealthCare's existing disease management programs for asthma, diabetes, low back pain, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease. CIGNA Well Aware for Depression(SM) -- Depression is a significant and common condition that affects both employees and employers. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 9.5 percent of the population, or about 18.8 million American adults will suffer from depression in any given one-year period. Undetected or under-treated depression leads to higher medical costs, and major depression is also a leading cause of disability. In addition, according to Rhonda Robinson Beale, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for CIGNA Behavioral Health, depression also is a direct cause of presenteeism, a new term used to describe the problem of workers being physically present at work but not fully functioning due to various medical or psychological symptoms and workplace or societal distractions. "Despite the fact that there are effective treatments for depression, it often goes undiagnosed or, when diagnosed, treatment is not adequate," said Robinson Beale. "The result is higher medical and lost productivity costs for employers and poorer quality of life and health for patients." Robinson Beale said identifying members who may benefit from disease management and providing them with additional support and resources to become healthier are key to improving the successful treatment of depression. "Because we have the ability to analyze integrated medical, pharmacy and behavioral health information, we can better identify patients who have been diagnosed with depression or who have medical claim patterns that signal undiagnosed depression and who are not receiving optimal care," Robinson Beale said. "Disease management engages both the member and provider in improving care." The program will provide members with personalized behavioral health coaching from masters-level clinicians at CIGNA Behavioral Health to facilitate compliance with their provider's treatment plan and provide members with additional services such as coaching, education, coordination of services and community referrals when needed. The new disease management program for depression will be available for plans that take effect on January 1, 2006 and will complement an employer's existing behavioral health benefits. According to CIGNA data, more than 80% of antidepressants are prescribed by primary care physicians (PCPs), so Robinson Beale said the program will focus on members being treated for depression by their PCP, and will operate in tandem with CIGNA's existing physician outreach program. This program provides physicians information about patients who may not be filling prescriptions for antidepressant medications or who may not be taking their prescriptions as directed. CIGNA Well Aware for Targeted Conditions(SM) -- A group of 10 medical conditions have been identified as the "next level" of health care problems that contribute to health care costs, after the more common chronic illnesses like diabetes and cardiac problems. These conditions are acid related stomach disorders, atrial fibrillation, decubitus ulcers (pressure sores), fibromyalgia, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and urinary incontinence. According to CIGNA estimates, members with these conditions have more than twice the average medical costs as compared to members who do not have these problems. Members who have one or more of these 10 medical conditions will receive assistance from disease management nurses to help ensure they are using appropriate medications, getting needed medical treatment to avoid complications, and making lifestyle changes that can lessen the severity of symptoms or prevent recurrence. CIGNA will expand its relationship with disease management service provider American Healthways to offer these programs, which will be available to employers for plans that take effect January 1, 2006. "American Healthways has gained significant experience in the last two years providing disease management services to individuals with the ten targeted conditions and has shown impressive results in both impacting clinical quality and reducing costs," said Chris Coloian, CIGNA's vice president of disease management. "We are excited about the opportunity to extend our disease management offerings and our relationship with American Healthways." CIGNA's disease management programs help over 550,000 members with chronic conditions better manage their health. CIGNA said the latest program expansions will triple the number of conditions under management through its award-winning CIGNA Well Aware for Better Health disease management programs by January 1, 2006. CIGNA HealthCare, headquartered in Bloomfield, CT, provides medical benefits plans, dental coverage, behavioral health coverage, pharmacy benefits and products and services that integrate and analyze information to support consumerism and health management. "CIGNA HealthCare" refers to various operating subsidiaries of CIGNA Corporation (NYSE: CI - News). Products and services are provided by these operating subsidiaries and not by CIGNA Corporation. CIGNA Behavioral Health (CBH) provides behavioral care benefit management, EAPs, and work / life programs to consumers through health plans offered by large U.S. employers, national and regional HMOs, Taft-Hartley trusts and disability insurers. CBH, with headquarters in Eden Prairie, Minn., operates five care management centers around the U.S. in support of a national network of more than 52,000 independent psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical social workers and more than 4,300 facilities and clinics. Source: CIGNA HealthCare



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