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COMBINATION OF MERCER AND VALUE HEALTH SOFTWARE WILL IDENTIFY COSTS AND QUALITY IN HEALTH CARE NETWORKS

 NEW YORK and AVON, Conn., Dec. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- William M. Mercer, Incorporated (Mercer) announced today that, after a review of competing products, it had selected the Practice Review System (PRS) developed by a Value Health, Inc. (NYSE: VH) division to enhance the capabilities of CHAMP(TM), Mercer's state-of-the-art health care plan analysis system. The addition of PRS's clinical logic will allow CHAMP users to profile physicians and managed care networks, and identify medical service problems amenable to management intervention and control. Thus, employers, insurers, provider groups, and other clients will gain important new perspectives on outpatient episodes, quality of care, practice efficiency, benchmark standards, and medical outcomes. The combined Mercer/Value Health system will be available during the second half of 1994.
 CHAMP, a sophisticated, PC-based system which includes a database representing more than three million lives, is being used currently by 80 Mercer clients to analyze their health care programs. The system provides access to data -- from any number of sources -- to give a complete and detailed picture of an employer's health care program. With CHAMP, users can evaluate benefit costs, utilization, and trends; monitor the effectiveness of managed care vendors; and model potential benefit plan design changes and their effect on the company and the employees. "By joining VHS's clinical tools with CHAMP's powerful analytic tools, Mercer consultants will be even more effective in helping their clients evaluate and improve the performance of their health plans. These tools will be critical components in the next generation of health care cost management initiatives," said Dr. Suresh Malhotra, a managing director of Mercer.
 PRS, developed by Value Health Sciences (VHS), evaluates physician practice patterns against clinically meaningful standards of care. It uses sophisticated clinical logic to create meaningful episodes of care, adjusts for severity and comorbidity, and identifies the specialty of the treating physician. It then evaluates each severity adjusted episode in light of tens of thousands of rules to identify excellent practices, as well as opportunities for improvement. The rules are derived from the scientific literature, epidemiologic studies, as well as consensus panels. "This is the most clinically sophisticated and powerful system yet created," said Leslie Michelson, CEO of Value Health Sciences, "and it enables health networks to fulfill the promise of managed care by simultaneously improving quality and controlling costs." By embedding the system's clinical logic and expert rules into Mercer's CHAMP, leading-edge evaluation tools will be available to employers who are aggressively managing their managed health programs.
 VHS products are being used currently by 15 of the nation's top 25 commercial insurance companies, seven Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans and numerous HMOs to evaluate the appropriateness of medical care for more than 12 million people.
 William M. Mercer, Incorporated is one of the nation's leading human resource consulting firms. Mercer is also a leader in the area of health care consulting. In addition to its expertise in the traditional consulting areas of plan design, financing, pricing, and administration, Mercer has pioneered the development of new approaches in sophisticated claims data analysis, medical services audits, utilization management, alternative delivery systems, quality-of-care evaluation, wellness programs, substance abuse programs, direct provider negotiations, network building, and workers' compensation medical management. Mercer's 3,300 employees provide services to more than 6,000 employers from offices in 43 U.S. cities.
 Value Health, Inc. is a leading provider of specialty managed care benefit programs and health care information services. Value Health's specialty managed care benefit programs are designed to enhance quality and control costs in selected health care sectors which are of particular concern due to their size, rapid cost escalation and potential for overutilization. These areas include prescription drugs, mental health and substance abuse, and foot care. Value Health's health care information services are based upon use of clinical and data analysis to guide health care decision making. These products include clinically based precertification and claims review, provider profiling, claims cost analysis, evaluation and management of health benefit providers, and health policy and management consulting. Value Health provides services to more than 25 million people and its customers include 35 of the nation's 250 largest corporations.
 -0- 12/9/93
 /CONTACT: Virginia F. Decker of William M. Mercer, 212-345-7248; or Judy Hyfield-Starr of Value Health, 203-678-3472/
 (VH)


CO: William M. Mercer, Incorporated; Value Health, Inc.; Value Health
 Sciences ST: New York, Connecticut IN: HEA SU:


DJ-CM -- NE007 -- 2200 12/09/93 12:13 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 9, 1993
Words:733
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