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First of Its Kind Product Offering Links Capabilities of Two Value
 Health Companies

AVON, Conn., April 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Improving the health care of mental health and substance abuse patients by coordinating all aspects of care is the goal of a new program offered through the combined expertise of two Value Health, Inc. (NYSE: VH) companies.

Value Behavioral Health, one of the nation's leading mental health and substance abuse companies and ValueRx, the largest independent pharmacy benefit and medical management company, are combining their data and expertise to offer a unique product called PsychoPharmaCare(SM). The new program, believed to be the first of its kind, integrates drug and mental health care data and gives the care manager a more complete health care picture of each behavioral health care patient. It seeks to improve patient compliance, reduce possible adverse drug interactions, prevent misuse of medications and comorbidity through physician and patient education.

Both companies have extensive databases of patient and provider information and by integrating them, they can optimize care by spotting and helping correct a wide range of mental health and drug misuse or abuse problems. This integrated system of care has the potential to help both the patient and the providers of care.

PsychoPharmaCare also provides a centralized review system, protocols governing psychotropic drug prescribing patterns, and intervention care management. Prescribing of psychotropic drugs is monitored through physician and patient profiling.

Several special populations and disease groups have been targeted for this program. Since psychotropic drugs are often prescribed to fight depression, and depression represents a major health care problem in this country, treatment of depression will be one of the first areas of focus for PsychoPharmaCare. The direct costs associated with treatment of depression and the indirect costs, including lost productivity, amount to $44 billion each year, estimates the American Pharmaceutical Association.

According to Ian Shaffer, M.D., executive vice president and chief medical officer for Value Behavioral Health, "General anxiety and depression are often misdiagnosed and mistreated. Although the stigma of mental illness is fading," said Shaffer, "the affected patient is still more likely to seek treatment for depression from a primary care physician, who may or may not be able to diagnose and treat a mental illness appropriately.

"It is estimated that one-half to one-third of patients with depression go undiagnosed in the primary care setting. When they are diagnosed, many patients receive medications that are in too low doses to be effective or discontinue medication after only a few weeks, thereby not giving the medication an opportunity to show its efficacy," Dr. Shaffer said. "This new program will point up these problems, and others, and help provide a more coordinated plan of care for the patient," he added.

"ValueRx recognizes that the prescribing of medications to treat behavioral health care disorders is very high and on the increase," said Michael Flagstad, ValueRx chief clinical officer. "By integrating our clinical experience with Value Behavioral Health's care management, we have the opportunity to optimize care and help control the inappropriate use of psychotropic drugs. This will result in better patient outcomes," Flagstad added.

Further information about PsychoPharmaCare and its benefits to employers, employees and their treating physicians may be obtained by contacting Susan Quish at Value Health at 800-752-2196.

Value Health, Inc. is a leading provider of specialty managed care benefit programs to large corporations, insurance carriers, managed care organizations, and federal, state, and local governments. The company's core businesses include: pharmacy benefit management; mental health and substance abuse management; workers' compensation, disability and group health management; and disease management. Its programs provide services to more than 78 million people nationwide.
 -0- 4/23/96

/CONTACT: Judith T. Hyfield-Starr of Value Health, 860-678-3472/


CO: Value Health ST: Connecticut IN: HEA SU: PDT

DP -- NETU010 -- 9209 04/23/96 09:59 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 23, 1996

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