UnitedHealth Group, Merck-Medco and Accenture Join Forces to Create Business Accelerator for Health Industry

Xceleron Health Compresses Time-To-Market For Emerging Technology Companies that Serve Large Health Organizations

[New York], October 2, 2001 – UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), Merck-Medco (a subsidiary of Merck, NYSE: MRK) and Accenture (NYSE: ACN) today launched Xceleron Health LLC, a company created to deliver consulting and business acceleration services to emerging technology-based companies in the healthcare industry. Xceleron Health will help companies with promising technologies adapt and scale their businesses by compressing the time-to-market for critical products and services.

Xceleron Health will work with companies that provide technology-enabled solutions to enhance the quality and efficiency of healthcare such as e-health, benefits selection, claims processing, clinical trial management, physician connectivity and provider credentialing. Xceleron Health will partner with these companies to help strengthen their businesses and scale their technologies so that they can serve large healthcare organizations, such as UnitedHealth Group and Merck-Medco.

Xceleron Health’s first client is Aperture, a leading credentials verification organization (CVO) and provider data management company. Xceleron Health is helping Aperture implement new electronic products and services to help reduce health plan data management costs and eliminate the administrative duplication commonly associated with today’s physician credentialing process.

"Xceleron Health has the vision and quality people to help us revolutionize the nation’s credentialing system," said Robert J. Bunker, Chairman and CEO of Aperture.

The founders provide a compelling combination of capabilities and opportunities for emerging companies. Accenture, the world’s leading provider of management and technology consulting services and solutions, will provide Xceleron Health with business development, technology assessment and solutions delivery services. UnitedHealth Group and Merck-Medco will provide in-depth knowledge of the industry and proven disciplines to help technology companies scale technology solutions for large healthcare companies. UnitedHealth Group and Merck-Medco will also direct potential vendors and partners to Xceleron Health—providing access to the founders’ own core businesses to speed potential contracts with the founders. The three founding companies have dedicated experienced executives to Xceleron Health. They will each provide cash and services in exchange for a one-third equity interest each in Xceleron Health, which is organized as a limited liability company with headquarters in Montvale, NJ.

“The need for innovative healthcare technologies to drive operational efficiencies, superior service and high quality care is greater than ever,” said Stephen G. Racioppo, Accenture partner and Chairman of the Board of Xceleron Health. “But even the best ideas will not yield results unless they can be brought to market at a scale necessary to serve industry-leading businesses. By combining the marketplace insight of Merck-Medco and UnitedHealth with the consulting capabilities of Accenture, Xceleron Health is uniquely positioned to assist emerging companies to achieve the critical mass they will need to serve the industry."

"Technology is enabling us to do a better job of keeping patients healthy and assisting physicians in delivering first rate medical care,” said James B. Hudak, CEO of UnitedHealth Technologies. "We are highly focused on capitalizing upon technology-driven innovations. Our business strategy pushes the technology envelope, and we need sophisticated business partners alongside to develop solutions for our large scale needs.”

“There is no doubt that continued technological innovation is critical to Merck-Medco’s ability to deliver value to our clients and members,” said Stephen J. Gold, senior vice president, Electronic Commerce Strategy and Delivery, Merck-Medco. “We have teamed up with UnitedHealth Group and Accenture to form Xceleron Health – combining the vision to see the potential in emerging technology solutions…and the experience to make it work for the healthcare industry.”

Although Xceleron Health will initially target companies providing technology-based solutions to UnitedHealth Group or Merck-Medco, it is expected that these companies’ solutions will also have broader marketplace applicability.

Xceleron Health anticipates helping clients with:

  • Business development
  • Marketing and sales planning
  • Pilot design and implementation
  • Business process design/systems integration
  • Technology assessment and scale up
  • Due diligence/business intelligence

About Accenture
Accenture is the world’s leading provider of management and technology consulting services and solutions, with more than 75,000 people in 46 countries delivering a wide range of specialized capabilities and solutions to clients across all industries. Accenture operates globally with one common brand and business model designed to enable the company to serve its clients on a consistent basis around the world. Under its strategy, Accenture is building a network of businesses to meet the full range of any organization’s needs — consulting, technology, outsourcing, alliances and venture capital. Its home page is http://www.accenture.com.

About Merck-Medco
Merck-Medco is the leading provider of comprehensive, quality, affordable prescription drug care in the United States. An independently managed subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK), Merck-Medco provides pharmaceutical care for more than 65 million - or nearly one in four - Americans. Merck-Medco manages 450 million prescriptions per year for its clients through its 13 home delivery pharmacies and retail pharmacy networks. Merck-Medco also operates the world’s largest Internet pharmacy, filling more than 150,000 prescriptions per week. Merck-Medco’s clients include major corporations, Blue Cross-Blue Shield groups, insurance carriers, health maintenance organizations, government health plans and unions. More information is available at http://www.merckmedco.com.

About UnitedHealth Group
UnitedHealth Group (http://www.unitedhealthgroup.com) is a diversified health and well-being enterprise that provides a full spectrum of resources and services to help people achieve improved health and well being through all stages of life. UnitedHealth Group is organized into five market-facing businesses: UnitedHealthcare, Uniprise, Ovations, Specialized Care Services and Ingenix. UnitedHealth Technologies, a UnitedHealth Group company, provides leadership in the development and execution of the enterprise-wide technology agenda. This agenda focuses on implementing high-technology solutions to strengthen relationships with customers and improve costs, architecting business systems to drive speed and flexibility in solution development, and improving the reliability and scalability of the underlying infrastructure.

This press release contains forward-looking statements, the accuracy of which is necessarily subject to risks and uncertainties. To the extent such forward-looking statements are related to any of Merck-Medco Managed Care, L.L.C., Accenture, or UnitedHealth Group, such forward-looking statements should be evaluated together with the risks and uncertainties that affect each of their businesses, and you should consult each of their filings (in the case of Merck-Medco, the filing of its parent Merck & Co., Inc.) with the Securities and Exchange Commission