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Franciscan Alliance, insurer partnership to improve care


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An insurance company is partnering with hundreds of central Indiana doctors to find ways to cut costs and to improve care for patients.

Franciscan Alliance has formed an agreement with the Cigna insurance company and about 600 doctors working for Franciscan Alliance. The partnership means the roughly 4,300 Cigna customers in central Indiana should be able to find doctors with longer office hours and receive more follow-up care after being discharged from a hospital, Cigna spokesman Mark Slitt said.

Cigna will give physicians money they can use to keep their offices open longer or to pay for care coordinators who could work with patients being treated for chronic conditions, such as diabetes. The care coordinator would be able to follow up with patients who might have missed some of their routine screenings or who haven’t refilled prescriptions they need, Slitt said.

The goal is to help physicians cut overall medical costs. A patient whose doctor is available during the evening is less likely to go to an emergency room, which is more expensive, for treatment. And care coordinators can help patients remain healthier longer by keeping up with their doctor appointments, which also decreases costs, he said.

“The whole idea is to keep people healthier, to improve people’s health,” Slitt said.

Franciscan Alliance already has similar agreements in place with Medicare and American Health Network, which serve a total of about 50,000 Medicare patients, Franciscan spokesman Joe Stuteville said.

“We have a history of being good stewards of our resources, yet we don’t want to hold back when it comes to providing our patients with the most quality of care options they could find anywhere,” Stuteville said.

In October, Johnson Memorial Hospital, Community Health Network, St. Vincent Health in Indianapolis and five other hospitals announced they were forming an agreement so they could attract more patients and offer services at a lower cost.

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