Cigna is addressing loneliness to help improve physical health and mental well-being by drawing attention the issue to help destigmatize feelings of loneliness.
We all feel lonely every now and then, but for nearly half of Americans the feeling is more frequent (link). In a survey conducted by Cigna in 2018, 46 percent of respondents reported sometimes or always feeling alone and 47 percent reported feeling left out (link). The findings showed the breadth and depth of loneliness in America and was a call to action for Cigna and others to address loneliness as a social determinant of health.
An analysis of Cigna’s U.S. Loneliness Index published in the American Journal of Health Promotion provides actionable insights for designing preventive health benefits and initiatives to decrease loneliness include:
Cigna is taking a number of other actions to help individuals, employers and communities:
Mercy Maricopa is an integrated physical and behavioral health Medicaid managed care plan administered by Aetna and serves patients in Maricopa County, AZ. In 2013, Mercy Maricope was awarded the Regional Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA) contract for Maricopa County by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). Mercy Maricopa provided behavioral health services to Medicaid eligible children and adults with a general mental health/substance use disorder (GMHSUD), integrated behavioral health and physical health services to Medicaid eligible adults with serious mental illness (SMI), and crisis services, as well as a range of state-funded behavioral health services for individuals not eligible for Medicaid. Mercy Maricopa was the first RBHA to cover integrated physical and behavioral health services for Medicaid eligible individuals with an SMI. Additionally, Mercy Maricopa focuses on SMI populations who also experience homelessness, which includes more than 5,000 such individuals in Maricopa County, and contracts for other supportive services, including housing and employment supports
NORC at the University of Chicago developed this case study of supportive service expansion for individuals with serious mental illness enrolled in the Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care Medicaid managed care plan in Maricopa County, Arizona, through a series of structured interviews with stakeholders ranging from service providers to patient advocates.This case study provides background and historical information on Mercy Maricopa and the population it serves and examines the 1) policy drivers, 2) partnerships, and 3) organizational decisions and staffing alignment that have influenced Mercy Maricopa’s implementation of expanded support services, including employment and housing supports. The case study also explores the successes and challenges identified by stakeholders.
Several key policy and legal drivers played a significant role in the implementation and expansion of supportive services for the serious mental illness and general mental health and substance use disorder populations in Maricopa County, specifically the Regional Behavioral Health Authority transition and the Arnold v. Sarn court decision.
Building partnerships with government officials, providers, and stakeholders involved with the serious mental illness community has been an important part of Mercy Maricopa’s process when designing, implementing, and expanding its care model. These partnerships have enabled Mercy Maricopa to create a system of care that is responsive to and anticipates the needs of its members.
Organizational Decisions and Staffing Alignment
Mercy Maricopa has made several strategic network and staffing decisions that have played important roles in the implementation of Mercy Maricopa’s expanded housing and employment support services program for individuals with serious mental illness.