Cigna (NYSE: CI) and Penobscot Community Health Care, Maine’s largest and most comprehensive community health center, have launched an initiative to help improve the oral health of those patients that have certain chronic medical conditions such as heart disease or diabetes. Research has demonstrated a link between oral health and overall health, and there is evidence that good oral health may contribute to reduced risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetic complications.
Cigna will help Penobscot identify patients who might benefit the most from proactive educational outreach and enhanced preventive oral health services. Treating an individual’s condition with an integrated dental and medical approach can help decrease the likelihood of health complications which, in turn, can enhance the patient’s quality of life while reducing costs.
“When we use all the tools and resources at our disposal, like the kind of information and data that Cigna can provide in this initiative, it allows us to provide more effective and impactful coordination of medical and dental services. We are excited to be working with Cigna on this quality of care initiative because we believe it will make a real difference in the health and well-being of our patients with chronic illnesses,” said Dr. Noah Nesin, chief quality officer at Penobscot Community Health Care.
“Oral health education is a critical component to the success of this initiative. The work we are doing with Penobscot Community Health Care to help patients with certain chronic conditions understand how the right oral health care, along with regular medical treatments, can improve their overall health is expected to drive better health outcomes, better service experiences and better savings,” said Miles Hall, D.D.S., chief clinical dental director for Cigna.
A value-based compensation model is incorporated into this initiative. Cigna will increase Penobscot Community Health Care’s dental fee schedule for successfully meeting targeted measurements with regard to its educational outreach, increase in customer use of preventive services and increase in customer satisfaction.
In addition to participating in Cigna’s extensive Dental PPO network, Penobscot Community Health Care participates in Cigna’s collaborative accountable care initiative for physician practices. These programs focus on expanding patient access to health care, improving care coordination, and achieving improved health, affordability and patient experience. Collaborative accountable care is Cigna’s approach to accomplishing the same population health goals as accountable care organizations, or ACOs, with a strong focus on high-risk individuals, including people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.