National Business Group on Health Honors Verizon for Offering Innovative Programs for Reducing Health Care Disparities and Supporting a Diverse Workforce

The National Business Group on Health, a nonprofit association of large U. S. employers, has honored Verizon for its continuing commitment to reducing racial and ethnic health care disparities in the workplace and for supporting a diverse workforce.

Verizon was one of six organizations recognized with the NBGH Award for Innovation in Reducing Health Care Disparities.  The inaugural awards were presented at the National Business Group on Health's recent 2011 Business Health Agenda in Washington, D.C.

"For many years, we've worked hard to eliminate barriers and challenges to quality health care, particularly those impacting our diverse workforce," said Donna Chiffriller, vice president of human resources, Verizon.  "We are proud to see our accomplishments recognized, and hope we are setting an example for other companies nationwide."

The NBGH cited Verizon for having the longest running corporate focus on the reduction of health care disparities.  It also recognized the company for its ongoing partnership with health care vendors and employees in raising awareness and addressing disparities.  In particular, the NBGH cited Verizon's requirement that the annual vendor-renewal process assess the work that health plans are doing to identify and address disparities.   It also applauded the company for implementing on-site mammography screenings and health plan outreach programs to increase testing rates with minority women for early detection. 

"If we can raise awareness of disparities and increase the number of employees who get preventive screenings, our workforce will be in a better position to detect problems early and work with their doctors to develop effective intervention plans," said Audrietta Izlar, corporate benefits manager, Verizon,  who also currently chairs the NBGH Disparities Advisory Board.

The board was developed to refine the business case for addressing disparities, as well as to design tools and resources employers can use to develop effective programs to reduce disparities.

Helen Darling, president and CEO of the National Business Group on Health, said:  "We congratulate Verizon for its ongoing initiatives and commitment to reducing health care disparities.  Verizon has been the leader among a growing number of employers that recognize how important it is that their health care benefits and health improvement programs meet the needs of a culturally diverse workforce.  By addressing health and health care disparities, Verizon is improving the value, quality and effectiveness of the services their employees receive through health care benefits and productivity programs."

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving 94.1 million customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 194,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of $106.6 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.