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CIGNA Recognizes National Rehabilitation Awareness Week by Honoring Texas Resident Mary Ramirez


* Mary Ramirez used CIGNA’s integrated medical and disability programs to stay at work
* CIGNA is a national sponsor of National Rehabilitation Awareness Week

DALLAS - As a collections company employee, Mary Ramirez has a job that requires her to sit at her desk for hours a day working with customers. In October 2009, she was in a motor vehicle accident that changed everything. The accident herniated discs in her back and soon made a desk job very challenging.

After three months of physical therapy and prescriptions to help with the pain, Mary still experienced difficulty when she sat down for long periods as part of her job responsibilities. She was worried that she wouldn’t be able to stay at the job she enjoyed unless she could find some relief. Then, she met a CIGNA nurse case manager as part of CIGNA’s Absence Prediction and Prevention program offered through her employer’s disability and medical insurance coverage.

“My doctor planned treatments for the bulging discs in my neck and back, but I still needed to work in the meantime,” explained Mary. “I called CIGNA and learned about a number of programs my employer offered as part of my benefits package that could help.”

After interviewing Mary and assessing her health and current treatment plan, the CIGNA health advocate nurse referred her to several programs, including an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to deal with the stress of her injury, a weight management program to alleviate some of the pressure on her back and vocational rehabilitation services to address possible work station modifications.

Mary ultimately lost 30 pounds and also found some comfort in the counseling sessions. But, it was the vocational rehabilitation counselor assigned to help with the workstation assessment that brought the greatest relief. The counselor helped Mary coordinate with her employer and physician and even research retailers to find the best solution, before the vocational counselor found the right chair that helped with Mary’s back pain.

“Losing the weight made a difference in the strain on my back and the counseling sessions offered through EAP have been terrific during my recovery,” said Mary. “But the prescription chair eased the back pain I felt every day. It gave me the peace of mind I needed to stay at work without disability leave, which was my greatest concern.”

“Many chronic conditions can lead to work absence. By identifying the warning signs, we can help someone address their health needs earlier, while preventing problems that could lead to a more severe condition,” said Mark Marsters, senior vice president, Group Operations, for CIGNA.

CIGNA launched the Absence Prediction and Prevention program in October 2009. Drawing on a variety of medical and disability claims data and socioeconomic information, the program works to identify employees who are at risk of a disabling injury or illness, then offers services tailored to individuals to help prevent disabilities from occurring. Employees benefit from one-to-one assistance from health advocate nurses, who may refer the individual to specialized CIGNA programs including stay-at-work services and the drug therapy optimization program, as well as other CIGNA health advocacy programs offered by their employer.

On September 29, Mary will be visiting CIGNA’s disability claims office in Dallas to share her story with CIGNA employees at one of the many employee and customer gatherings CIGNA will host across the country. Through these events, CIGNA will spotlight how the Absence Prediction and Prevention program can help people stay at work.

CIGNA sponsors National Rehabilitation Awareness Week. In addition to Mary’s visit, the company will also highlight clients for their commitment to helping employees return to work including Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and Salem Health. CIGNA employees will also volunteer their time to local non-profits that help people return to work including Dress for Success Dallas in Plano, Texas, Verdugo Job Center in Glendale, Calif., and Days of Caring in Pittsburgh, Pa.

For more information about this weeklong observance, visit For more information about the value of disability insurance, visit


CIGNA (NYSE: CI) is a global health service and financial company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. CIGNA Corporation’s operating subsidiaries in the United States provide an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and vision care benefits, as well as group life, accident and disability insurance. CIGNA offers products and services in over 27 countries and jurisdictions and has approximately 60 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about CIGNA, visit To sign up for email alerts or an RSS feed of company news, log on to Also, follow us on Twitter at @cigna, visit CIGNA’s YouTube channel at and listen to CIGNA’s podcast series with healthy tips and information at or by searching “CIGNA” in iTunes.


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