Cigna Foundation and Cigna Help Improve Advanced Care for Communities, Customers

  • $320,000 grant to benefit caregivers in Baltimore, Washington, Richmond
  • Pilot program to help customers with advanced illness in NY,
    Tennessee, Texas

BLOOMFIELD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Cigna and the Cigna Foundation are taking steps to help individuals and
communities improve advanced care for the critically ill, and to offer
stronger support to family caregivers in Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and
Richmond, Va.

The Cigna Foundation is providing a two-year $320,000 World of
Difference research grant to the Coalition
to Transform Advanced Care
(C-TAC), joining C-TAC in helping many
who have inadequate access to medical and social services and who prefer
an alternative to the traditional health care system. C-TAC works with
the faith-based community, which is in a unique position to serve as a
trusted resource to reach family caregivers and support their social,
spiritual and health care needs.

“This grant from the Cigna Foundation will help us accelerate the
critically important community work that C-TAC has been conducting from
the very beginning,” said Jon Broyles, C-TAC executive director. “We’re
grateful for Cigna’s partnership. Together we’ll ensure that the values
and voices of family caregivers and those they tirelessly serve are
heard and honored.”

The Cigna Foundation funding will enable C-TAC to conduct extensive
research that will help it better understand the needs of caregivers.
The research will provide a national baseline, and the findings will be
compared with qualitative data from regional caregiver workshops and
focus groups in Baltimore, Washington and Richmond. This information
will be used to help create new models of care based on the values,
needs and knowledge of caregivers and patients.

“Currently, there is an inadequate understanding of the knowledge – and
gaps in knowledge – of families who are providing support for their
terminally ill loved ones,” Broyles said. During the final year of an
ill person’s life, family members provide care on average for 66 hours
per week.1 Yet, in many cases, caregivers have had no
training to perform important tasks, such as wound treatment, and have
had to learn on their own.2

“The Cigna Foundation has awarded several grants this year to
organizations throughout the country that are embedding community health
workers in communities – a best practice in improving outcomes and
eliminating disparities. We now are extending our work to the ‘hidden’
community health worker – those family members who are caring for loved
ones with advanced illness and chronic conditions,” said David
Figliuzzi, executive director of the Cigna Foundation. “Cigna and C-TAC
are committed to a shared vision where communities lead the design of
practical, sustainable, community-driven solutions for their sickest and
most vulnerable.”

In a separate but related move, Cigna started a pilot program focused on
helping people with an advanced illness such as late-stage cancer or
heart disease to receive holistic palliative care.

The pilot program will be conducted in New York, Tennessee and Texas for
Cigna customers enrolled in individual plans, or in group plans offered
to small businesses.

Cigna is collaborating with Aspire
Health
, a leading health care company that will provide in-home
medical services in consultation with the Cigna customer’s physician.
Aspire will provide unlimited home visits, clinical assessments, 24/7
telephone access and caregiver support, and will recommend changes to
medical or pharmacy treatment that will help the individuals manage the
symptoms of their illness. These services are provided by palliative
care physicians, nurse practitioners, social workers and clergy, as
appropriate and needed.

“In the U.S., there’s an extreme reluctance to discuss palliative and
end-of life care, but very often that’s what critically-ill patients
want,” said Scott Josephs, M.D., national medical officer for Cigna.
“Because many patients are afraid to ask, and many doctors are reluctant
to propose, palliative care is not routinely or consistently offered to
people with an advanced illness. As a result, individuals are often
subjected to crisis interventions, including emergency room visits,
hospitalizations and invasive treatments that don’t improve their
quality of life or help ease the burden of their illness. I believe our
health care system can do better.”

About the Cigna Foundation

The Cigna Foundation, founded in 1962, is a private foundation funded by
contributions from Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) and its subsidiaries.
The Cigna Foundation supports organizations sharing its commitment to
enhancing the health of individuals and families, and the well-being of
their communities, with a special focus on those communities where Cigna
employees live and work.

About Cigna

Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) is a global health service company
dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense
of security. All products and services are provided exclusively by or
through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including
Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Cigna Health and Life
Insurance Company, Life Insurance Company of North America and Cigna
Life Insurance Company of New York. Such products and services include
an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental,
behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits, and other
related products including group life, accident and disability
insurance. Cigna maintains sales capability in 30 countries and
jurisdictions, and has approximately 90 million customer relationships
throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to
follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.

1 Rhee, Y, Degenholtz, HB, Lo Sasso, AT, and Emanual, LL.
“Estimating the quantity and economic value of family caregiving for
community-dwelling older persons in the last year of life,” Journal
of the American Geriatrics Society,
2009; 57:1654-1659. The
estimated economic value is in 2002 dollars.
2 Reinhard,
S., Levine, C., and Samis, S. Family Caregivers Providing Complex
Chronic Care, AARP & UHF

Contacts

Cigna Corporation
Gloria Barone, 215-761-4758
gloria.barone@cigna.com