updated 10/11/2010 6:15:37 AM ET 2010-10-11T10:15:37

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 11, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Health and wellness company American Specialty Health Incorporated (ASH) was recently named to Inc. magazine's fourth annual list of the 5,000 fastest growing privately-held companies in the United States for a second consecutive year. The list is a comprehensive look at one of the most important segments of the economy—America's independent-minded entrepreneurs—and serves as a unique illustration of the profound changes taking place in the U.S. economy.

"After 23 years of doing business and achieving more than $150 million in annual revenues, ASH continues to be named to "fastest-growing company" lists," said ASH co-founder, CEO, and chairman George DeVries. "Through an entrepreneurial legacy and a culture that consistently innovates and impacts the standard approach to health care delivery, ASH is able to stay relevant and expand its services year after year. That is why—more than two decades after its creation—ASH's clients include more than 120 health plans and more than 2,700 employer groups nationally, serving a total of nearly 18 million Americans."

ASH provides wellness and prevention, specialty network management, and fitness and exercise services to health plans, insurance carriers, employer groups, and trust funds nationwide. ASH subsidiaries operate in all 50 states, providing a seamless national provider network and administrative platform for clients.

"The leaders of the companies on this year's Inc. 5000 have figured out how to grow their businesses during the longest recession since the Great Depression," said Inc. president Bob LaPointe. "The 2010 Inc. 5000 showcases a particularly hardy group of entrepreneurs."

Despite the fact that most of this year's measuring period of 2006-2009 took place during the latest recession, aggregate revenue among the companies on the list actually increased to $321.6 billion, up more than 50 percent from last year. The effects of the recession are seen, however, in the median three-year growth rate, which dropped to 96 percent from last year's 126 percent. This year's Inc. 5000 employ a record 1.4 million people, up from 1 million on last year's list. With unemployment remaining stubbornly high, policymakers and business leaders will do well to look to the Inc. 5000 companies for fresh ideas on achieving growth and creating jobs.

The 2010 Inc. 500|5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2006 to 2009. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by June 30, 2006. Additionally, they had to be based in the United States, privately held, for profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2009. (Since then, a number of companies on the list have gone public or been acquired.) The minimum revenue required for 2006 is $80,000; the minimum for 2009 is $2 million.

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found on www.inc.com/5000 .

About American Specialty Health

American Specialty Health Incorporated (ASH) is a national health and wellness company that provides prevention and wellness services, specialty network management programs, and fitness and exercise services to health plans, insurance carriers, employer groups, and trust funds. Based in San Diego, ASH has more than 700 employees and covers over 17.9 million members.

For more information about the products and services offered by ASH and its subsidiaries, visit www.ASHCompanies.com or call (800) 848-3555. Follow us at Twitter.com/ASHCompanies and Twitter.com/Healthyroads.

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