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 AVON, Conn., Oct. 5, /PRNewswire/ -- John Matthew (Matt) Thomas, executive vice president of Preferred Health Care Ltd. (NASDAQ:PHCC) of Wilton, Conn., will head the new mental health and substance abuse company being formed by the merger of Preferred and Value Health, Inc. (NYSE:VH) of Avon, Conn.'s subsidiary, American PsychManagement (APM).
 The definitive agreement to merge the two companies was signed Sept. 23, 1993, and it is expected the deal will be concluded by year-end once regulatory clearances and shareholder approval from both companies are received. The corporate headquarters of the combined mental health operations will be in Falls Church, Va.
 Prior to joining Preferred Health Care (PHC), Thomas was chief operating officer of a major substance abuse hospital in Detroit, Mich., and previously spent 13 years in various administrative positions in the mental health field. He holds M.B.A., M.S.W. and B.A. degrees from the University of Michigan.
 In making the announcement, Robert Patricelli, chairman and CEO of Value Health said, "We are pleased Matt will be heading the newly merged mental health business. His operational skills will help us combine the best practices of both companies pertaining to customer service, quality of care and efficiency of operations. We will put together the premiere managed mental health company in the nation managing more than 12.5 million covered lives in our combined companies," he added.
 The name of the new company has not yet been determined. An integration task force comprised of people from both companies has been formed and these "Best Practices Teams" will be addressing issues such as operations and organization, systems, sales and marketing, communications and finance.
 Value Health, Inc., is a leading provider of specialty managed care benefit programs and health care information services. These programs are designed to enhance quality and control costs in selected health care sectors which are of 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.
 Preferred Health Care Ltd. is a leading provider of programs that manage the delivery of mental health and substance abuse care. Preferred's principal product is its PsychCare program, a comprehensive managed mental health system that integrates patient evaluation, referral to the Company's preferred provider networks and concurrent utilization review. The Company also offers an optional employee assistance program in conjunction with this product, as well as claims payment services. The Company provides a fully integrated workers' compensation managed care administration service that is designed to reduce costs and improve the quality and result of care provided to injured workers.
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 /CONTACT: Judy Hyfield-Starr of Value Health, 203-678-3472/

CO: Preferred Health Care Ltd.; Preferred and Value Health, Inc. ST: Massachusetts IN: HEA SU: PER

CM -- NE012 -- 8958 10/05/93 14:51 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 5, 1993

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