GTE receives 1998 Leadership Award from the Washington Business Group on Health; company cited for supporting the healthcare Consumer Bill of Rights and Responsibilities and promoting the benefits of

WASHINGTON - The Washington Business Group on Health (WBGH) today
recognized GTE Corp. for its support of the health-care Consumer
Bill of Rights and Responsibilities presented to President Bill
Clinton by his Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and
Quality in the Health Care Industry last November.

GTE was the first company to adopt the Bill of Rights for its
employees. It has led the effort for voluntary adoption of the
Bill by the private sector -- as opposed to federal mandates --
by securing commitments from other employers and health plans
that will extend the Bill's rights to cover almost 60 million
working Americans and their families. On Feb. 20, the President
signed an executive memorandum extending a Patient's Bill of Rights
to approximately 90 million Americans who are covered by Medicare,
Medicaid and other government health programs, or who are federal

J. Randall MacDonald, GTE executive vice president - Human Resources
and Administration, is a member of the President's Commission.
GTE was one of only five employers selected to be represented
on the Commission and the only one with a national workforce and
extensive experience in value-based health care purchasing.

"GTE is proud to be a leader in employee and retiree health
care," said MacDonald. "We do it because we want to
provide the highest quality health care to our people, while at
the same time managing costs responsibly in the interest of our
shareholders. Being recognized for our work is the icing on the

"The key to the Bill of Rights is voluntary implementation
of quality health care initiatives in the marketplace rather than
legislative mandates that can increase costs and reduce the availability
of services," MacDonald said. "Policymakers need to
recognize the complexity of the health care system and the potential
that legislation will increase, rather than decrease, the number
of uninsured."

Provisions of the Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights, developed by a subcommittee of the President's
advisory commission, calls for consumers to have certain rights
regarding their health care:

  • The right to be informed about the health-care plan quality
  • The right to choose the right doctor for the right type of
  • The right to medical service in an emergency
  • The right to know all medical options no matter how much they
  • The right to respectful care and equal treatment by any health-care
  • The right to know your medical records are confidential and
    only used for legitimate purposes
  • The right to express your concerns about the quality of care
    you receive and to take action when the care is inadequate
  • The recognition that consumers share responsibility to lead
    healthy lifestyles and to stay informed about their medical needs.

Company also Recognized for Work on Retiree Benefits

GTE was also recognized for its work in promoting organized systems
of health care by educating its retirees about managed health
care alternatives. The company conducted a test program in some
of its high-retiree-population areas called GTE's "Select
Medicare HMO Initiative" and subtitled "Try it, You'll
Like It." The programs featured improved benefit levels,
shared cost savings through lower retiree contributions and an
open opportunity for retirees to return to their former health
plan at any time if they were not satisfied for any reason. The
test resulted in a large number of retirees moving to managed
care systems that saved them and the company money.

The Washington Business Group on Health is a national non-profit
organization devoted to the analysis of health policy and related
worksite issues from the perspective of large employers. Other
companies recognized by the WGBH in 1998 include Dayton Hudson,
Delta Air Lines and General Motors.

With more than 100,000 employees, GTE is one of the largest telecommunications
companies in the world.